Strong Foundations: Building Australia’s largest country and roots festival from the ground up.
Starting with an audience of 2500 in 2008, CMC Rocks QLD, now the biggest country and roots festival outside North America, has gone from strength to strength. Uncommon Cord’s Matthew Lazarus-Hall, as Festival CEO, has helped grow this amazing event through three locations across 12 years, harnessing a niche market to sell out a record 21,000 tickets in 90 minutes.
What is CMC Rocks?
CMC Rocks is the largest country and roots festival outside North America. Starting in 2008 with 2500 attendees, CMC Rocks is now at home in Willowbank Raceway, Ipswich Queensland, and celebrating its 12th year in 2019. Headliners include Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line, The Dixie Chicks, Lady Antebellum, Toby Keith and Luke Bryan, with audiences travelling from all over Australia, New Zealand, Asia, USA, Canada and Europe.
How are we involved?
As CEO of CMC Rocks, Matthew has been instrumental in providing the backbone and strategic leadership and planning for CMC Rocks. During this time, his leadership has been integral in driving the festival’s growth whilst, at the same time, ensuring that it’s spirit’s heart and soul remaining focused and never forget to reason for being.
“The CMC Festival is one of my greatest achievements, and I am proud to say we have successfully built a festival that delivered an amazing experience and accelerated country music in a challenging market, celebrating country music’s passionate audiences and exceeding expectation year after year.”
- Matthew Lazarus-Hall
The success of the festival has seen it evolve and grown in size, requiring three location changes over its 11-year history to accommodate the increasing attendance. The other major challenge was to create a flexible, yet robust, economic model that allows the festival to evolve in to the large festival that it is today.
The festival broke unprecedented records across festival and camping ticket sales, making 2018 the most successful year in the festival’s 11-year history. Not only did the festival sell 17,000 festival tickets (more than 4000 more than the previous year’s record), it sold out in one hour.
2018 also saw the record-breaking sale of campsites - over a 30% increase compared to 2017, and officially broke the banks of the festival’s already impressive 20 ha sized land, expanding the site an additional 15 ha.
Photo credits: Andrew Wilson, Artist Collective Agency, Lachlan Douglas and Savannah Van Der Niet