Poor ticket sales and a mix of music genres have been cited as probable reasons for the cancellation of the 2019 Murrumbidgee Music Muster.
The March event at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club was set to be the region’s first ever.
However, it was cancelled last Sunday – less than one month after it was announced.
Musician Aleyce Simmonds, who was part of the lineup, said the event was cancelled “due to the lack of support by the public”.
“I was terribly disappointed to receive the news,” Ms Simmonds said.
“I understand that there are always many things that we need to allocate our funds and disposable income to, especially at this time of the year, but an event like this would have been an amazing morale boost for the community and a memorable time for all involved.”
However, she thanked the organisers, sponsors and ticket holders for their initiative and support.
“I hope to be part of the lineup should the event be scheduled again,” she said.
Similarly, a spokesperson for musician Richard Clapton said “I was told it was a lack off early response for ticket sales”.
“Note that there is no clash in touring schedule with Richard,” the spokesperson said.
In response to queries about the reasons, event promoter Marc Christowski of Empire Touring said “we have a schedule issue with one of the acts and they now can’t appear”.
“So unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel, but we are definitely keen to reschedule with an even better line up and will hopefully be making an announcement next year at some point.”
Mr Christowski did not answer queries about ticket sales.
As of today, six of the eight featured performers do not have other March 2019 shows listed on their websites.
The other two musicians have not listed any shows beyond February 2019.
Riverina’s industry experts have their say
The Riverina’s music and tourism experts have also weighed in to the cancellation.
Grant Luhrs, Wagga musician and owner of Flying Fox Recording Studio, said in addition to scheduling conflict, there may be additional issues.
“There probably wasn’t a very favourable response ticket wise,” Mr Luhrs said.
“It may also be a case of two conflicting genres at the one event.
“Generally speaking, people know what a country music festival is, people know what a rock concert is, but when you try to mix them then there’s a chance you may alienate more people.”
Mr Luhrs, who is involved in Wagga’s Stone the Crows Festival and the Tamworth Country Music Festival since 1985, said that perhaps organisers relied on the star-studded lineup to mitigate potential effects of mixing genres.
“But if I knew all the answers in the industry, I’d be a millionaire,” he said.
The event was set to boost the region’s economy, similar to the MTC’s Rock at the Races in November, which added more than $60,000 to the club’s profit for the 2018 financial year.
Richie Robinson, general manager of Destinations Riverina Murray, said the March schedule was good timing for the region’s calendar of events.
“We did expect that the first year would've been a really successful event as it was shaping up to be a great lineup,” Mr Robinson said.
“The timing was good – it would’ve keep the city busy but not overload it.”
The timing was good – it would’ve keep the city busy but not overload it.Richie Robinson, general manager of Destinations Riverina Murray
Similarly, Wagga Country Music Club’s Don Tuckwell said the news was disappointing.
“Quite a few of our members were excited about making the event, so it’s a shame,” Mr Tuckwell said.
“It would’ve been boost to region and for country music fans.
“I suspect they can’t find replacements so it’s probably best they cancelled it earlier than later.”
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