The Burra Country Music Festival announced that they have postponed this year’s festival to 2022, citing COVID-19 restrictions and a drop in sponsorship as the contributing factors to the decision.
“Most of the local businesses have been affected by COVID and our major sponsors AGL were cutting sponsorship down this year,” Burra Country Music Committee secretary Karen O’Brien said.
“There were going to be increases in responsibility so far as COVID marshalling, cleaning and accommodation.
“It would have taken more volunteers and costs incurred for us as a committee, coupled with the fact that sponsorship was going to be down with no guarantee that there weren’t going to be more flare ups with the virus.”
The Burra Country Music Festival was planned for 19-20 November of this year, but will instead be held 18-20 November 2022.
The event normally draws about 1000 people each year over the three days and is vital for tourism in the local area.
“We have been given feedback from local businesses there has been an increase in people buying from their business and staying in accommodation throughout the town,” Mrs O’Brien said.
“November is normally off-peak season for Burra, so the festival certainly injects a lot more people, it also puts Burra on the map.”
Mrs O’Brien stated that a large percentage of their audience typically consists of grey nomads, who may not be able to travel across borders if an outbreak happened around the time of the festival.
Another issue raised is potential border closures could affect artists travelling from interstate to perform at the festival.
There have been multiple instances of musicians getting caught up in border restrictions amongst COVID outbreaks.
After Western Australia’s recent outbreak and 3-day snap lockdown, Fremantle band Spacey Jane found themselves having to enter quarantine in Brisbane and postpone shows on their tour.
Mrs O’Brien said the community has responded to the announcement with sadness, disappointment and understanding.
The festival also has a proud history of supporting young emerging country artists through their talent quest held at the festival and scholarship program.
The first, second and third placegetters were given the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to the Academy of Country Music in Tamworth, where they are paired with mentors in the industry.
“There’s a pool of talent in SA that’s untapped, so we’re really passionate about giving them the opportunity to perform and further their aspirations,” public relations officer Michelle Osborn said.
The festival committee is currently in the process of confirming artists’ availability for next year.