29 November 2021

Canberra's iconic music events hit a high note with tickets snapped up

| Ian Bushnell
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Street stalls

Street stalls at the 2019 National Folk Festival at EPIC. Signs are positive for a bumper crowd in 2022. Photo: File.

Organisers of Canberra’s two iconic music festivals are thrilled with the demand for tickets for their events next year amid the ongoing COVID uncertainty.

The National Folk Festival will return to EPIC at Easter (14-18 April) after an absence of two years, while the Canberra International Music Festival will be back in full swing after this year’s program was reduced to only Australian artists due to international border closures.

Although the folk festival will be an all-Australian affair, organisers have been blown away by the demand for early-bird tickets, with half of them already sold after being released this week.

Managing Director Lynne O’Brien said the festival’s website had crashed several times coping with the rush.

“We sold what we normally sell in 17 days in six hours,” she said. “The phone hasn’t stopped, I’m a bit shell shocked.”

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At one point the office was talking calls every three minutes from people all over Australia wanting to secure season tickets and camping sites. There had even been a couple of enquiries from New Zealand.

She expected early-bird sales to end by next Tuesday when general tickets will go on sale.

The unexpected rush is a positive sign for the festival and feedback is demonstrating a big appetite for live music and travel.

“They are incredibly excited and also really grateful and thankful. Everybody has really missed the Folkie,” Ms O’Brien said.

Sally-Anne Russell and Roland Peelman

Part of the 2021 festival ensemble with Sally-Anne Russell, centre, and Roland Peelman, right, conducting. Photo: Peter Hislop.

She said most of the powered camping sites had been snapped up, but there were still plenty of other sites available.

Most people were happy to declare they were “fully vaccinated and ready to go”, as well as acknowledging Canberra as a safe place to visit with its 97 per cent vaccination rate.

CIMF General Manager, Angela Hannan, said festival passes had almost sold out and 60 per cent of tickets for the popular breakfast series had gone.

She said individual concerts, such as the major concert The Creation, were also selling well and there were already quite a few tour groups booked for the first weekend.

“People who want individual tickets should really get their skates on and start buying them,” Ms Hannan said.

She said there was such a big demand for events like this now, especially to come to Canberra now things were opening up.

“So it’s going to be another exciting year – we’re just really happy to have had the response we have had so far,” Ms Hannan said.

International artists include the New Zealand String Quartet and London-based pianist Lucas Krupinski.

CIMF will present a broad program of classical and contemporary concerts in venues across Canberra from 26 April to 8 May.

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