Every year for the last 20 years, more than 500 people have made the annual trek to the Norfolk Island Country Music Festival. We have been part of that number for the last 10 years. But over the last three years, I have noticed an alarming trend.
Traditional Country Music has been replaced with endless performances based around the artists’ original compositions and a desire to blow everybody out of the hall with an endless barrage of country rock.
I am not denigrating the talent which has been on offer over the years – in fact I admire anybody who can sit down and put their thoughts into song. But like anybody who has something to sell, artists need to look at who their audience is, and what is going to make those people want to buy their services again – whether it be one of their CD recordings, a return performance, or to attend another concert in their home town down the line.
But it doesn’t stop at the artists. In fact the Norfolk Island Country Music Association needs to shoulder most of the blame in my view. They are the organisation promoting the concert, and they are promoting it to the 60 year olds plus market. That is the age group which attends year after 21 years. And they only need to look at the 2019 audience size to get a wakeup call.
I mentioned before, the normal audience size is around 500 – there were more than that at the 2018 festival. In 2019 that audience shrunk to barely 200 – and that is a sudden drop! That, in my view, is due to a blatant disregard of the need to provide the type of music which their market has come to hear. They have not heeded the warnings given by at least 7 tour leaders from Australia and New Zealand – most of them being artists or promoters themselves.
I know of three tour groups which did not return in 2019, and two more which are considering not returning. Our own Skylark Tours group may also not return because the common feedback from our clients for the last three years has been that the biggest letdown was the main reason they went – the music.
So what can we all learn from this? Clearly, if you cease to give your market what it expects in terms of quality, then you can expect them to go somewhere else. So take a good honest look at what you are doing and assess whether you are still satisfying your “A” customers’ needs, or whether idealism, or even complacency is creeping in and is about to drive them away.
And my advice? Get somebody who is not emotionally attached to your business to help you review that objectively, because once they go somewhere else it’s a real uphill struggle to get them back.
Give me a call if you think I can help.