Adelaide welcomes an influx of artists in 2019 ahead of severe liquor licensing changes

Image Source: This is Radelaide

By Jonathon Poulson | @jonoriley97

Unfortunately for us Adelaidians, gone are the days of the early twenty-teens where festival powerhouses like Big Day Out, Soundwave, Stereosonic, and Future Music Festival all made annual Adelaide appearances.

After the loss of four giant festivals, the Adelaide music scene was left high, dry, and hungry.

However, Adelaide has seen more boutique events like Laneway, Handpicked, Wine Machine, Electric Gardens, and Sea & Vines pop up throughout the last couple of years to help fill the event calendar.

Newer touring festival giant, Groovin the Moo, has grown to an attendance of up to 20,000 at Wayville, as punters swept up all the tickets just weeks after they were released.

Two festival-goers said they each paid over $400 for a second-hand ticket just days before the event, claiming it was worth every penny to see their favourite artists perform.

Music festivals are a unique artistic concept that allows the audience to watch multiple headliners with a single ticket.

It provides the opportunity to discover lesser-known artists that wouldn’t usually get the chance to perform in front of a sizable crowd.

With limited local options to indulge in the festival experience, Adelaide’s boutique festivals have seen ticket sales skyrocket.

Spin Off Festival, a self-titled spin-off event of Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass festival, saw tickets to this year’s gig sell out in less than two weeks—a record time.

The official Spin Off Festival Facebook page announced on this year’s event that they were blown away by the response, having more than doubled the capacity size from last year.

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SPIN OFF Festival 2019 line up (Image Source: Amnplify)

Listen Out is another big name bringing a younger sibling event to Adelaide with the title ‘Listen In’.

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Listen In 2019 lineup (Image Source: Fuzzy)

They opened ticket sales even before announcing a single artist or line up.

In addition to the artists above, Adelaide will play host to several other artists and events in the coming months, including electronica-indie band Safia, and renowned locals Allday and Hilltop Hoods.

But the state government is about to throw another spanner in the works of SA’s nightlife, in the form of new liquor licensing fees.

A media release from Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan said, “some CBD entertainment venues face increases of more than 500 per cent in taxes, as part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s $130 million increase to industry fees, charges and taxes.”

Consumer and Business Services have provided a fee calculator which uses a risk-based calculation to show how fees could almost triple in every license category.

If a venue has an attached bottle shop or drive through, an additional $900 is added to their annual fee, and hundreds more are added if the venue is located on Hindley Street—a high-risk location.

Small bars and restaurants that close before 2am will see annual fees increase from $115 to $425.

It is unknown how venues will afford the new charges, and it’s likely the fees will come out of the customer’s pocket through an increase in entry and drink prices.

Another controversial change currently in the works would introduce a user pay scheme for police presence at events such as music festivals, where organisers of the event will have to pay for the benefit of that police presence.

Attorney General Vickie Chapman provided Fresh 92.7 with a statement saying the new structure brings South Australia in line with other states around the country.

A similar scheme was introduced in New South Wales last year, and the impact has been so significant that music festival organisers have had to raise costs or cancel events altogether.

In little ol’ SA, changes this big could stop touring festivals from coming to our state altogether, which will force the scene to go interstate despite the tremendous support shown for the festivals gracing Adelaide.

The liquor licensing changes will be implemented in November this year.

This means 2019 could be the last year Adelaide sees a booming nightlife before the changes punish the very sector that has been credited with revitalising the CBD.

But as far as upcoming events go, Adelaide has a lot to look forward to before these changes are implemented.

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