‘Hack’ Explored What Splendour’s New Ownership Means For Ya Fest Experience

In the wake of this morning’s news that Live Nation has purchased a controlling stake in Splendour In The Grass and Falls Festival, music lovers around the country have been grappling with the apparent confirmation of their biggest fear: one company now has a tangible monopoly on Australia’s festival scene.
While anyone who saw Soundwave or Maitreya collapse could tell you the scene has lacked diversification for years now, this morning’s announcement basically makes it official. Hack spoke to a few major players this evening to get a handle on what this change means to punters, and look: it could have seismic ramifications on your fest experience.
Firstly, y’all should know about how Splendour and Falls themselves may change. While their former operator Secret Sounds picked the often-obscure acts from a slew of indy promoters, Live Nation now has the clout – and unfathomable industry connects – to slot in performers they know to be tried and true.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there is the possibility the fest’s vibe could be altered. With international power comes international acts, and AJ Maddah – yeah, him – said the fests’ likelihood to use local boutique promoters “will probably change going forward.”

However, Secret Sounds’ Jess Ducrou told Hack her company has been able to maintain creative control over proceedings. She said “there’s no pressure to put on more commercial artists because of [Live Nation’s] touring arm. 

“They’re partnering with us to do what we do.

“We feel confident we will be able to maintain the integrity of Splendour and Falls.”

Wait and see. You’ll know it’s happened when Disturbed are tearing Lorne a newie.
Outside of that, the presence of Live Nation’s Ticketmaster arm means OzTix’s CEO Brian Chaldli expects his company will lose the Falls contract. Naturally, he was despondent, telling Hack “ultimately what worries me is the conglomeration of the music business.” 
“It’s been going on for a few years. It just gets worse and worse. More and more companies are being bought up by the likes of Live Nation – it ends up like Coles and Woollies.”
Reporter Lars Brandle told the program it’s not just Splendour and Falls-goers who should pay attention to Live Nation’s growth, either. He said it’s v. likely they’ll soak up more Aussie fests and venues in the years to come.
Look, it’s not *great* news for an already extremely well-integrated industry, as a number of independent promoters were keen to point out. If you’re all about international mega-acts, though? Shit, you’re probably in for an alright time. Give the report a squiz here, and judge for yourself.
Source: Triple J.
Photo: Cassandra Hannagan / Getty.