Loch Hart Music Festival has cancelled its November dates amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Festival director and Colac native Jayden Bath announced the cancellation on Wednesday morning, but is hopeful the three-day camping event will be back in 2021 in a revamped form.
"It is with a heavy heart that we must vacate our November 2020 dates," Mr Bath said. "Given the current state of things in Victoria this is unlikely to come as a shock, however, it is still an extremely difficult decision to make.
"What we can tell you is that we plan to use this year off to make some dramatic additions. We are going to double-down on our environmental responsibilities, install new site infrastructure, explore new arts genres, and cast an open mind to what the future of Loch Hart may be."
Nestled in the Kangaroobie Campground at the base of a rolling 200,000-acre farm in Princetown overlooking the Great Ocean Road, the event attracted hundreds of revellers in 2019.
The festival predominately features up-and-coming alternative acts with about 50 per cent of the 2019 lineup made up of south-west artists.
Although only in its infancy, Loch Hart Music Festival has seen an increase in attention with last year's attendee numbers doubling from the first instalment in 2018 and Mr Bath was recently named one of the Music Network's prestigious 30 Under 30 in the 'Entrepreneurs and Innovators' category.
"We are at a pivotal time in our growth as an emerging music festival," Mr Bath said. "We doubled our numbers in our second year, while maintaining our intimate and friendly atmosphere. This put us on a trajectory that we were eager to explore in 2020.
"To potentially halt this growth is nothing short of heart wrenching.
"We have exhaustively explored the possibility of alternate dates, shifting to a socially distant festival, reducing our size, capacity or amount of days, and even the possibility of a drive-in festival.
"Ultimately, in the current environment even the best-laid plans can come unstuck."
Recognising the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the music industry, Mr Bath is calling for more government assistance and revellers to get behind the sector and support musicians, producers and businesses.
"The music industry was one of the first hit, and it will likely be one of the longest impacted," he said.
"Victoria's live music scene is recognised globally, with Melbourne having more live music venues per capita than any other city in the world.
"This scene must be protected. For the music industry to bounce back, there must be financial assistance from government, as well as the support of fans.
"We are calling on all live music fans to reach out to their favourite band, artist, venue, or festival and let them know you'll be there to support them when they're back.
"The reality is that behind every giant band, huge venue, or mega festival is an artist, publican, or promoter, who would love to know they have your support."
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