In the overcrowded space that is live music and the Australian festival scene it’s no wonder promoters are looking for that point of difference to get you to buy a ticket. Once a lineup was all you needed and the people would come. Now punters, especially those of the festival persuasion, are spoilt for choice and looking for you to add value to your gig in other ways.
This explains why so many promoters have sought after otherwise unknown outdoor sites to hold their events that they hope will help get over the line and purchase tickets. Not to say a venue can’t make a gig a very special event, just look at when Frontier Touring brought out Leonard Cohen for a concert at Hanging Rock in Victoria. You’d be hard to pressed to find anyone who went who didn’t walk away thinking they’d just been part of something very special indeed.
But as promoters venture into previously uncharted waters the local councils and communities in regional areas have to deal with the onslaught of thousands of music lovers turning up in droves on their doorstep in numbers that in most cases would be completely unprecedented.
Enter Cessnock Council in the Hunter Valley of NSW, who according to The Daily Telegraph is considering introducing a ‘road levy’ on promoters who wish to hold large events in their council area to help pay for upgrades to facilities and roads to better manage the influx of people.
The council have just released a report on the effectiveness of such a tax after a large increase in the number of music event being held at non-traditional venues such as vineyards. Elton John is playing this weekend at Hope Estate and organisers are predicting up to 34,000 people will descend on the venue over the two days.
The issue apparently is that the roads the patrons will be using are not designed to withstand traffic at those levels and need major repairs and upgrades should the current number of major events continue to be held in the area.
One of the proposals put forward to the council, which has been marked as a high priority, is the idea of charging the promoter a lump sum of $50,000 for holding the event in the area. The promoter would then be free to pass on the cost to the ticket holder as a $3 levy for example.
Another proposal is to tax the concert venue a yearly rate for permission to hold such events on their grounds. But not everyone is happy with the idea, including Tourism Transport Forum CEO John Lee who told The Daily Telegraph, “This idea is absolutely appalling, it’s just a tax on fun. What you have is a council that has reaped the benefit of having a vineyard on their doorstep for decades, and now they want to tax people for having fun.”
So what do you think? Should regional councils introduce a ‘levy’ to cope with the increased demands on their local resources? Or is this just shallow attempt at gouging some money out of successful local businessmen to make up for poor financial management?
Let us know in the poll below and tell us what you think in the comments.