Bendigo musicians believe a lack of local backing and support from the city's music scene were factors in the cancellation of the Bendigo Autumn Music Festival.
While the model for BAM was similar to the Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival (which is largely free) tickets for the new event cost up to $220.
Musicians said the combination of high ticket prices, targeting Melbourne audiences rather than locals and Bendigo's lack of support for live music had all contributed to the event's demise.
The four-day BAM Festival was cancelled last Friday with low ticket sales given as the main reason.
More than 80 artists and were set to perform 200 gigs over four days from April 25 to 28. Music acts Kurt Vile, Tex Perkins, Cash Savage and Dan Kelly were highlights. Ticket prices ranged between $15 and $220 depending on the type of festival access patrons wanted.
Bendigo singer-songwriter Tane Emia-Moore (also known as Grim Fawkner) said he felt local engagement was an issue for the festival, with the aim clearly to target out-of-town audiences.
"There were definitely moments where I thought there wasn't a lot of local engagement on the promotion side," Moore said. "The promotion material that came out was aimed at out-of-towners, so I thought a bit more close-knit community engagement might have encouraged ticket (sales).
"Bendigo has quite a lot of musicians and a lot of musicians in Bendigo are either quite happy maintaining the status quo or are seeking opportunities elsewhere. I didn't sense that much excitement (from other musicians)."
City of Greater Bendigo major events and tourism manager Terry Karamaloudis said all of the major events that council supported were primarily aimed at attracting visitors from outside the region.
"We don't support major events to only attract people that live in Bendigo," he said.
"We solely aim to attract people that will stay overnight, create a short break around an event and leave a positive impact on our economy.
"The majority of the major events that are staged in Bendigo are organised or owned by 'non locals', and the clear majority of major events on the annual calendar are successes."
Moore said the Bendigo music scene preferred to support home-grown events.
"Because the blues festival is such a successful event, locals have a lot of support for it," he said. "I was sensing that a lot of people (from the city's music scene), including myself, when we first heard about (BAM) was that it sounds like a competitor rather than another great event.
"An event from interstate organisers doesn't feel like it's 'us'. Just because Bendigo's name is on it, doesn't mean it is (Bendigo)."
The council had believed a new, niche festival would appeal to the region, Mr Karamaloudis said.
"Right from the beginning all stakeholders took into consideration the fit of the event on the Bendigo calendar and felt quite reassured that we were embarking on a mission to support a new and niche festival at a great time on the events calendar that would appeal greatly," he said.
"Admittedly the planning centred around targeting ticket sales out of Melbourne. In hindsight I think we've just witnessed what a crowded space Melbourne is. Obviously, we would have wanted the event to proceed however on this occasion ticket sales just didn't materialise to the extent that the event was going to be viable."
Bendigo band Fountaineer's singer Tony White said he believed there was a lack of support for live music in Bendigo.
"In general, I don't think Bendigo is a really great supporter of music," he said. "On Saturday nights or weekends there is a lot of sport and it's not in people's priorities. (Bendigo) has always been that way.
"People don't like to pay money for live music, a lot of the (Bendigo) gigs we put on are free."
Moore and White said the similarities to the largely free BBRMF meant some music fans wouldn't pay the more expensive ticket prices of BAM Festival.
White said he and his bandmates were not surprised to learn low ticket sales had prompted the cancellation.
"It's like they bit too much off. They had so many bands and it was a bit expensive for local people," White said.
"That alternate music fits what we play and some bands including international bands will never come to Bendigo in any other situation. But we quickly sensed tickets weren't selling. I'm kind of glad it didn't go ahead. That was the right decision by the organisers."
Musician Steve Lane was set to perform at BAM with The Autocrats. It would have been the band's first Bendigo gig for a year.
"I have to say I really feel for the organisers Red Square Music. I was really impressed with way they went about it," he said.
"We were looking forward to the gig but also the range of music is more in the style I enjoy. Everybody who I know and move with were rapt about it. I have heard people say Bendigo people are late ticket (purchasers)."
Lane said it was traditionally difficult to get events like this off the ground.
"The scope of the festival required buy-in from Melbourne and surrounding areas. It was another link (to Bendigo) and that's what was exciting about it. It could have been awesome for a lot of industries," he said.
"The blues and roots festival is a good example of how hard it is. They put immense time in and it's immensely wearing for them."
Lane said there were many benefits that would be missed because of the BAM Festival's cancellation.
"This is something could have helped the blues and roots festival in the long run as well as the Bendigo community," he said.
" My only other thought to everything else was that (the two festivals) are completely different styles at (opposite) ends of the year."
Festival organisers issued a statement last Friday saying it was not viable to produce the festival and line up through the next month.
"We have been working on this event over two years now with the belief that the event would be an amazing success and a brilliant addition to Australia's regional music festival calendar.
"The lineup was really strong and we had some very good media coverage, extensive advertising and promotion, but simply no traction and conversion to ticket sales, despite the event being on sale for eight months.
"With only 30 days until the event, we have had to make the responsible decision and cancel four weeks out, in order to give artists, those that did purchase tickets, and our partners, adequate notice."
Festival organisers said refunds would be issued for tickets purchased through their website. People who purchased tickets from Capital Venues and Events should contact them directly to arrange for an refund.
Bendigo Autumn Music Festival organisers declined to comment further on their original statement.
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