All-Local Bills Show Promise In Australia

– Darwin Festival
Promoters have reason to be less worried about how audiences will respond to 100% Domestic bills. The first test, with Darwin Festival (Aug. 6-16) resulted in the highest proportion of sold-out shows in its 41-year history, as 98% of the 253 free and ticketed events hit full capacity.
Border restrictions in other states saw most interstate acts drop out, leaving 94% of the 396 artists coming from the Northern Territory.
Artistic director Felix Preval agreed that while the large turnout could have been due to cooped-up patrons wanting to support cash-strapped performers, a shift in taste to local talent provided a different model for future use. “It’s given us an opportunity to stand back and look constructively at how we run our event, and we’re very pleased we have been able to achieve what we have during a pandemic,” he said.
For the first time, Bluesfest Byron Bay (April 1—5)’s second artist lineup was all-Australian. Additions included Tash Sultana, Hiatus Kaiyote, All Our Expenses Live In Texas, guitarist Ian Moss, Russell Morris, First Nation troubadours Kev Carmody and Ziggy Alberts, rapper Briggs, Kim Churchill and Mama Kin Spender.
Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne, New Zealand (Dec. 28-31) which traditionally draws 20,000, dropped its first lineup of 52, all locals, and topped by major drawcards pop queen Benee, dub-reggae Fat Freddy’s Drop, drum & bass Shapeshifter and reggae outfit L.A.B
But organizers have an out if restrictions on foreign travel are lifted before the next announce late November. “Should the situation change, we have a number of overseas acts who are willing to self-isolate for two weeks,” they said.