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Research Shows Regional Australia Is Pining For More Live Music

4 October 2023 | 12:00 am | Ellie Robinson

Over 1,000 people were surveyed for Australia’s first-ever Live Music Census.

Falls Festival

Falls Festival (Supplied)

More Splendour In The Grass More Splendour In The Grass

Australia’s first-ever Live Music Census – commissioned by Cedar Mill Group and conducted by The Music – has shown that regional Aussies are very keen on catching gigs whenever they can, and wish more venues would pop up to host them.

The survey, which is planned to be held annually, received answers from 1,012 respondents. 48 percent of them were male, 47 percent were female, and two percent were gender-diverse (the remaining one percent chose not to specify how they identified). A even quarter of those surveyed were aged between 35 and 44, while 23 percent were in the next bracket up (45-54), 22 percent were a bracket younger (25-34) and 20 percent were aged 55 and up. The survey aimed to “understand the pulse and perceptions of Australia’s live music fans”.

According to the data processed, 43 percent of respondents either “disagree[d]” or “strongly disagree[d]” with the notion that their areas had a sufficient amount of live music venues. That figure accounts for all cities where respondents were based – when narrowed down to focus solely on those in regional areas, the tally is bumped up to 75 percent.

And there’s clearly a market for more venues to host gigs: 85 percent of respondents said they go to more than four live music events every year, and 93 percent said they were likely to attend at least one over the next six months (while only 27 percent said they’d be hitting up a sporting event in that timeframe). The same amount of respondents said the memories they make at concerts last a lifetime, and 74 percent said they either “agree” or “strongly agree” that they’re partial to the atmosphere at gigs held outdoors.

Not all of the data was positive, though. 36 percent of respondents in regional Australia, for example, said they found it annoying to organise transport to and from live music venues (compared to 25 percent of metro-based respondents). To that end, 63 percent of regional respondents said they’d be more keen to go to shows if the venues were more geographically accessible to them (compared to 34 percent of metro respondents).

Speaking of accessibility, 82 percent of respondents said they find it important for venues to prioritise accessibility. When zoomed in to focus only on female and gender-diverse respondents, that figure rises to 89 percent. Additionally, 40 percent of female respondents said they’ve experienced feeling unsafe at a live music event.

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Amenities were another gender-skewed concern, with unreasonable toilet queues affecting 47 percent of female respondents (compared to 27 percent of male respondents).

In a press statement, Cedar Mill Group founder Paul Lambess said of the findings: “There’s nothing better than hearing amazing live music while in the great outdoors. We have long believed that although so many Australians love these experiences, there simply aren’t sufficient purpose-built facilities to make this pastime an accessible reality for so many. Now, the first Australian Live Music Census by Cedar Mill Group has shown us the views and attitudes of those who want more – more music, more venues, more transport and more accessibility.

“Australia has incredible musicians, an amazing natural environment and a strong community of music fans, workers and supporters, so we look forward to finding ways to bring them more of what they love.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This survey was conducted by the TheMusic.com.au for Cedar Mill Group. 1,012 people were canvassed for their responses. Respondents were 48% male, 47% female and 2% gender diverse, with 1% preferring not to say. The largest age group to respond was 35-44 (25%), followed by 45-54 (23%), 25-34 (22%), 55+ (20%), 18-24 (6%) and 13-17 (1%).