Well over a year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s music scene continues to struggle, be it due to a slow vaccine rollout, snap lockdowns or reduced venue capacities.
Within the first half of 2021, festival giants like Bluesfest and multidisciplinary arts fest RISING have had to either postpone or outright cancel their events at the eleventh hour – prompting industry calls for a form of business interruption insurance for the live performance sector.
As COVID-19 cases flare up, border restrictions continue to alternately ease and tighten and temporary lockdowns instituted and lifted, affecting concerts and festivals across Australia.
New South Wales repealed its lockdown restrictions on October 11 once 70 per cent of the state were fully vaccinated. Victoria will shortly follow, emerging from lockdown from 11.59pm on October 21. The ACT ended its lockdown on October 15.
Though states appear to be easing restrictions as vaccination rates increase, uncertainty remains around when interstate borders will reopen without the condition of mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
Stay on top of which festivals, tours and concerts in Australia have been called off or postponed with the list below, updated regularly as more news comes in throughout 2021. For concerts and festivals affected in the past, head here.
Short Stack have rescheduled their national tour, which was expected to commence in November. The new string of dates is now spread across June and July next year.
Purchased tickets will be honoured for the new shows, with refunds available. Between You & Me will join the band on all rescheduled dates.
“The good news is, we have been working hard on new music, so we really appreciate everyone who has held on to their tickets and we can’t wait to see you there,” Short Stack said in a statement.
Ngaiire has rescheduled her tour of Australia and New Zealand, announced in celebration of her latest album ‘3’. Dates were originally planned to kick off in November.
- READ MORE: Ngaiire: “You don’t want to go to the grave clutching to a character you’ve been portraying to the world”
The Australian leg has been pushed back to 2022, now taking place across January and February. The neo-soul artist will then play two dates in New Zealand later in August, accompanied by Wallace. All existing tickets remain valid for the rescheduled shows.
Hoodoo Gurus have postponed their tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of their first live show in 1981. The national tour was initially scheduled to take place this December, however it will now be spread across April. A new show in Hobart has been added for April 9.
US indie band The Dandy Warhols are still locked in to support. Tickets for the rescheduled shows go on sale today (October 6) and tickets for the newly added Hobart show are available from Friday (October 8) through Frontier. Refunds are available for those who can’t make the new dates.
Ladyhawke’s east coast tour, originally scheduled for October and November, has been pushed back to early next year. The six-stop tour will now be spread across February and March, and include a new third show in Melbourne. Tickets will be valid for the rescheduled dates and refunds will be available. Tickets to the rescheduled shows, including the new Melbourne show on March 10, go on sale at 10am today (September 28).
“While I’m gutted that these shows can’t happen in Australia right now, I am super excited that these new summer dates now mean we can add this new Melbourne show, and most importantly be able to play at a time that is safe for everyone!” the artist said in a statement.
Ed Kuepper and Jim White
Laughing Clowns’ Ed Kuepper and Dirty Three’s Jim White have cancelled the remaining dates of their joint tour due to COVID border restrictions. Instead, the duo are hoping to find a more suitable time to tour in 2022. Refunds will be available from the point of purchase.
“We appreciate that you have stuck with us over the months and it hasn’t been an easy decision. We hung in there as long as we could but this latest strain is causing havoc that we cannot navigate,” the pair said in a statement.
Big Scary have cancelled the three remaining Victorian shows of their Daisy In Bloom tour, initially scheduled to take place at The Espy, The Night Cat and Theatre Royal across 2-4 September.
- READ MORE: Big Scary – ‘Daisy’ review: Melbourne indie-pop duo return with their grooviest album yet
“Pretty flat that we had worked on a new live show but won’t be able to bring it to life, nor celebrate ‘Daisy’ in person with any of you. But we know there are much bigger things going on, and we’re already planning lots of Big Scary stuff for 2022,” the pair posted on Twitter.
Ticket holders will be receiving an automatic refund soon.
I Know Leopard
I Know Leopard have rescheduled their shows in Melbourne and Sydney in light of ongoing restrictions. After the dates were postponed to this month, the shows will now take place on December 16 (Melbourne) and December 23 (Sydney). A second Sydney show has also been announced on the same day.
“Wow it’s been a real mess around but we’re gonna get there bbz and it’s gonna be all time. Thank you for being amazingly patient. More musics to come before then too,” the band wrote on social media.
Amy Shark has postponed the last three dates of her ‘Cry Forever’ tour, initially set to take place next month in Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth; the shows had already been knocked back once in July.
The singer-songwriter announced her tour’s latest setback last night (August 25) on social media, reassuring fans that all three of the remaining dates will “100 percent still be going ahead at a later date”.
Though it’s yet to be confirmed when the shows will now take place, Shark continued: “Our team is working hard behind the scenes and I will have new dates for you very soon. The ticketing teams will be in touch with all details and options for you.”
The shows were originally scheduled for October and November of this year, with dates in Sydney and Wollongong in February 2022. Those have now all shifted to February and March of next year, with the Sydney and Wollongong dates remaining unchanged – they’ll now kick off the run.
“We’re absolutely busting to play these new songs for you, and this gives us the best possible chance to give you the ML show you know, love, and deserve,” the band commented in an Instagram post announcing the news on August 25.
The Jungle Giants
The Jungle Giants have announced that they’ll be postponing their forthcoming ‘Love Signs’ tour, now taking place throughout November and December.
“We’ve been dreaming of playing these songs to you live even before recording the album,
but the reality at the moment is with multiple ongoing lockdowns and lingering national
restrictions, it’s not possible for us to do,” the band wrote in a statement.
“The day WILL come. We just have to ensure everyone’s safety for the moment.”
The tour was originally set to happen in September, after being announced alongside details of their recent album ‘Love Signs’.
Melbourne hip-hop group HP Boyz have announced that their 2021 tour will no longer be going ahead, due to the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19 restrictions and border closures.
In a statement, the band said, “We are heartbroken that we have to cancel the tour and we’re sorry to all of our fans who were excited to see us.
“We want the best possible outcome for this tour and we will be back in 2022, that’s a promise!”
Ticket holders will be contacted by the ticketing agency and there’s no need for those with tickets to take further action.
West Set Festival
West Set Festival in Melbourne, expected to take place over 19-29 August, has been cancelled due to Melbourne’s extended lockdown. Tickets for headline shows, such as Angie McMahon and Hayley Mary, will be refunded.
“In the meantime, we urge you to continue to support the local host venues and fellow traders and all livelihoods who are connected to live music in any way you can,” organisers said in a statement.
On August 17, Slowly Slowly cancelled the remainder of their ‘Race Car Blues’ tour dates “due to ongoing COVID restrictions along the east coast” as well as a “new health hurdle” for frontman Ben Stewart.
“While we’re all hopeful for Ben’s full recovery, it’s important that he takes some time to place his full focus on his health. With this in mind, plans for Slowly Slowly need to be put on hold for the time being,” the band’s management said in a statement.
Tickets for remaining tour dates will be refunded, and management ask fans who wish to support the band during this “extremely difficult time” to consider buying a record or merchandise.
Northeast Party House
Currently stuck amid the Melbourne lockdown, Northeast Party House took to Instagram on August 10 to announce they have been forced to cancel an appearance on the Sunshine Coast alongside Confidence Man and Wigz.
“With no guarantees on border restrictions lifting any time soon… unfortunately we’re unable to reschedule this time,” the band wrote.
Refunds are available to ticket holders from the point of purchase.
National Live Music Awards
Though last year’s event was run virtually, the 2021 edition of the National Live Music Awards has been axed altogether. Founder and director Larry Heath cited challenges faced by performing artists as lockdowns and other restrictions continue to make touring unviable.
“Sadly, while there are fantastic scenes still in operation, and many artists who have defied the odds and managed to tour through much of the last year in one form or another, the landscape of touring has been one of uncertainty,” Heath said, as per The Music Network.
“The raw fact of the matter is – with a year of lockdowns and closed borders, there is no national live music scene to celebrate right now. And more to the viability of the awards themselves – there is no clear way for our judges to assess this year’s potential nominees.”
On the upside, organisers say the 2022 NLMAs will be “bigger and better than ever”, with the the Awards’ advisory board set to announce a slate of new members later this year.
Vivid Sydney 2021
Vivid Sydney has to had to cancel for the second year in a row, and the second year ever, due to the continuing spread of coronavirus in the Greater Sydney area.
It was supposed to take place throughout August, but last month it was postponed to September and October.
“Given the ongoing uncertainty, the decision has been made to cancel Vivid Sydney 2021 to minimise the impact on event attendees, partners, artists, sponsors and suppliers,” reps for the event said in a statement.
However, the event has also revealed its 2022 dates, set to take place in May and June of next year.
The Lost Lands
Initially scheduled to make its return this November, Melbourne festival The Lost Lands has been postponed until 2022. It’s now set to go down on Friday October 28 and Sunday 30 next year, taking place at its usual home of Werribee Mansion.
The festival’s organisers issued a statement today (July 23), saying: “We really hoped to come together in November for a fabulous celebration of music and art with our wonderful festival family. We’ve held on to that possibility for as long as we can, however lockdowns in Victoria and New South Wales have shaken our confidence in moving forward.
“As a young festival, it has been both an exciting journey and a tough few years finding our feet. A more established festival can weather the risks and uncertainty our industry faces at this time a lot more easily.
“As we evolve our offering to create a COVID-safe space for families and artists, we must also ensure the festival is sustainable into the future. We’re currently in dialogue with Government to help support the festival and we’re working hard to keep the ambitious vision of the festival alive.”
Tickets purchased for the 2021 event – the lineup for which remained unannounced before its postponement – will remain valid for next year’s jaunt. “We ask that you stay aboard our fun ship as we navigate the stormy seas back to the magical land where lifelong memories are made,” the festival’s team continued.
Refunds will be made available for those who can’t make the new dates, with details to arrive imminently.
In what has been described as “HUGE, UNSURPRISING NEWS”, Polish Club have postponed their national tour, due to kick off in September. The shows will now commence a month later, and run until December.
“Relevant ticketing companies will be in touch w refund details for those who can no longer make it,” the band said on Instagram, “SORRY & THANK U.”
Brisbane’s annual three-day music festival and conference BIGSOUND has been postponed until next year, following multiple COVID outbreaks down the East Coast and uncertainty around border restrictions.
Event organisers released a statement today (July 19) saying “without our music mates in New South Wales and Victoria and no certain timeline as to when domestic borders will remain open, BIGSOUND 2021 wouldn’t be able to deliver on its promise to reunite the music community for three extraordinary days of connection, conversation, and music discovery.”
Ticket holders and artist application fees will be fully refunded in coming weeks. Head to the BIGSOUND website for more information.
NSW South Coast rockers The Vanns have pushed back the Sydney, Canberra and Newcastle dates of their national tour, citing their home state’s extended lockdown. Though their statement came before the announcement of a snap five-day lockdown for Victoria, it’s assumed their Melbourne show – slated for Friday July 16 at the Forum Theatre – will also be affected.
“We are still working on replacement dates and will announce them ASAP,” the band said. “If you have a ticket for any of these shows, that ticket will be valid for the corresponding show on its rescheduled date.
“If you are unable to make the new date once it’s announced and require a refund, please contact your point of purchase. We appreciate your patience, and we can’t wait to be back playing for you as soon as we can.”
Brisbane pop duo Confidence Man have rescheduled their two Melbourne shows, initially scheduled for Saturday July 17. They’ll now take place on Thursday August 26, with all tickets remaining valid for the new date.
It follows the news that their Queensland co-headliner with Northeast Party House has been rescheduled for Friday August 27, taking place at the NightQuarter on the Sunshine Coast.
Sydney pop-punk outfit Stand Atlantic have made a series of changes to their national headline tour, with the most recent being the postponement of their shows in Victoria, scheduled to take place in Geelong, Melbourne, Ballarat, Frankston and Belgrave.
“COVID restrictions have been constantly changing the logistics of tours across the country. Ours is no exception,” the band wrote in a statement.
“Recent rules and regulations are being been adhered to by us and venues – and the following changes have been made to make sure this tour still goes ahead, we’ve tried to make it as clear as possible, find your respective city below to note any changes.”
New dates are yet to be confirmed.
Sydney’s annual “light, music & ideas” festival, Vivid, has had its 2021 edition postponed in the wake of the city’s current outbreak of COVID-19.
Initially scheduled to take place between Friday August 6 and Saturday 28, the festivities are now slated to run from Friday September 17 through Saturday October 9. Though full details for the rescheduled events are yet to be confirmed, current ticketholders will be able to transfer their tickets to the new dates. Refunds will also be offered.
On July 13, Private Function announced that the final show of their tour, due to take place July 24 at the Ettamoogah Pub in Albury, NSW, will not go ahead.
The gig was due to feature Good Morning, These New South Whales, Romero, Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq and more.
“We have done and will continue to do everything we can to make our shows happen, but this one just ain’t on the cards,” the band wrote.
“I reckon we’ll do this show again one day and it’ll be the best show we’ll ever play, but it’s canned for now. Refunds will be issued in the coming days.”
Bugs have just announced the final show of their Diamond Tour, scheduled to take place in Melbourne, will not be going ahead.
In a statement posted to their socials, the Brissy outfit stated it would not be possible as their home state is still classified a ‘Red Zone’, according to Victoria Health. The Corner Hotel show has now been rescheduled for September 16, and is set to still feature Teenage Joans and Melaleuca on support duty.
“This is NOT the news we wanted to give you; I assure you that we share your sadness and frustration,” Bugs said. “Refunds will be available if you can’t attend the new date but if you’re still keen to party then hanging on to the ticket in the meantime would mean a lot to us. Do what’s best for you…”
Alice Skye & Elizabeth
The previously rescheduled dates for the tour were set for early this month into August, but will now kick off towards the end of this month. The duo will play one show in early August, before continuing their run in September.
In addition, the shows in Victoria – Melbourne, Castlemaine and Ballarat – will now take place at the end of the tour as opposed to the beginning as was originally scheduled.
Tickets for all rescheduled shows are on sale now.
“I would rather be on stage than nearly anywhere else in the world but I would never want to endanger any of our Australian music fans. So due to COVID, I have had to reschedule my shows. I didn’t want to postpone and postpone, week after week so we’ve moved the shows back by a month or so. I hope we get on top of this by then and we can all celebrate live music together again,” the singer said in a statement.
Ed Kuepper & Jim White
The Saints’ Ed Kuepper and Dirty Three’s Jim White have postponed seven of their recent shows due to “the latest failure of our federal government”, as a press release puts it. The duo have now set new dates for those postponed shows, taking the duo throughout Australia in July, August and September.
“As you know the tour I’m doing with Jim White has had a number of setbacks/interruptions,” Kuepper wrote on Facebook on July 1. “Being staunch upholders of musical decency and artistic integrity we are however determined to see it through.”
“I think we’ve often hit peaks as high as anything that I’ve done in the past. So catch one of these shows while you can, they may never be repeated.”
… as you know the tour I'm doing with Jim White has had a number of setbacks/interruptions… being staunch upholders…
On June 30, Hiatus Kaiyote rescheduled their Melbourne shows, which were originally locked in for July, back to 9-10 September. The band explained that the city’s restrictions have not eased enough for the gigs to proceed. Tickets will be valid for the rescheduled dates, with the group providing additional information “shortly”.
Japanese Wallpaper’s Gab Strum postponed his Melbourne show on June 29. The show, which was initially announced for July 9, will now take place on October 9. Tickets are valid for the rescheduled date, and authorised ticket sellers will be in touch in the coming days.
With the concert featuring special guests Allday, George Alice, Alex Lahey, Washington and Airling, among others, Strum said, “it has become increasingly clear that the timing and current conditions in NSW and QLD, as well as the lack of clarity around restrictions easing in Victoria, aren’t going to allow for us to put on the best possible show or even to get the full band and crew into the state.”
On June 30, Teenage Joans announced the postponement of their nine-date headline tour in support of their EP ‘Taste Of Me’. They were due to hit Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Melbourne and their hometown of Adelaide throughout July and August.
New dates have yet to be locked in, but a representative for the band tells NME that an announcement will be made soon.
Alice Skye and Elizabeth
On June 29, singer-songwriters Alice Skye and Elizabeth postponed the Victorian leg of their co-headline tour, scheduled for July 2-4. The tour was already rescheduled once. Tickets will be honoured for the future dates, which Elizabeth said will be “announced soon”.
“I’m hurting a lot for my band, my whole team and our industry right now. Watching us all make these posts over n over is getting tired. For those with tickets, thank you so so much. Back soon with new dates and more info,” Skye said.
On June 29, bubblegum-punk duo Cry Club postponed their forthcoming Brisbane show on July 3, as the city prepares to enter a three-day lockdown. Tickets will be honoured for the unconfirmed future dates and refunds will be made available.
- READ MORE: Cry Club: “If you’re being as fully yourself as you can, no one can take that away from you”
“We’re currently in the process of locking in a replacement date, but due to the speed at which things have gone south it’s taking a little longer than usual,” the band said on social media.
On June 28, Thelma Plum pushed back the dates of her Homecoming Queen tour once again due to intrastate border restrictions throughout Australia. The tour, which will see Plum make a number of stops along the east coast and Adelaide, will now take place across July.
“Thank you again for holding onto your tickets, we are holding onto that thought to keep up our spirits! Of course, if you cannot make the new dates, please contact the ticket company for a refund,” a statement read.
- READ MORE: Australian Festival Association’s Julia Robinson on insurance, NSW’s Music Festivals Act and more
Splendour In The City
Splendour In The Grass’ satellite event Splendour In The City was cancelled on June 28 due to complications brought on by the Sydney lockdown. Artists that were set to play included Tash Sultana, Ziggy Ramo, Ocean Alley, Violent Soho, Spacey Jane and Vera Blue, among others. Refunds for the event are being processed from June 29.
“This is a heartbreaking situation for all of the crew, suppliers and artists that were working hard to deliver this event for Sydney. Splendour in the City was set to provide much needed income for our live music industry which has been devasted since March 2020,” Secret Sounds co-CEO Jessica Ducrou said in a statement.
Hockey Dad were forced to postpone some of their recent Brisbane shows after stay-at-home orders came into effect, forcing the band to isolate for two weeks. The Windang duo were actually told to isolate just as they were set to return to the stage for an encore, which abruptly ended the concert.
The band’s team are currently working on reorganising the remaining Brisbane dates.
“We felt amazing as we walked off stage. We really felt like we had pulled off something special. Despite all odds we were finally playing these shows after over a year’s worth of postponement. As the crowd started yelling for us to jump back on for an encore, we got the tap on the shoulder and were escorted away from the stage to receive the bad news,” Hockey Dad’s Billy Fleming said.
- READ MORE: How Yours & Owls Festival pulled off the first major music festival in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic
On June 27, Aussie rocker Jimmy Barnes postponed the Perth show of his Flesh and Blood national tour, citing uncertainty of border restrictions around the current Sydney Covid-19 outbreak.
The July 2 show has now been pushed back to August 13 at the city’s Riverside Theatre. Touring agency Frontier has advised that none of the other shows on the national tour will be affected, with shows now kicking off on Friday July 16 at Adelaide’s Thebarton Theatre.
The Melbourne leg of Full Tilt festival has been rescheduled due to the recent COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria. Originally scheduled for July 3 at Coburg Velodrome, it will now take place on Saturday October 23 at Reunion Park in Burnley.
Current tickets remain valid for the new date, with organisers saying interstate fans unable to attend the rescheduled event will be offered a ticket transfer to a city of their choice.