Blue Balls Snookered By Late Cancellations

Promoter Urs Leierer on his Blue Balls festival in Switzerland: “The weather was good and I didn’t lose money.”

It was the event’s 20th anniversary, but suffered a blow when two of the headliners pulled out.

Indigenous Australian artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu canceled a month before the festival July 20-28, while Antony Hegarty Of Antony and the Johnsons went down with food poisoning after arriving in Switzerland and spending a day rehearsing with the local 21st Century Orchestra.

Having lost two of the 18 shows scheduled for the two venues in the city’s Culture and Convention Centre (KKL), which is on the shores of Lake Lucerne, Leierer was pleased that his festival still attracted 100,000 visitors, which is on a par with most of the recent stagings of the event.

“It was disappointing because it was an anniversary event,” he told Pollstar of the cancellations. “Antony and the Johnsons had sold out and a month ago, when Gurrumul had to cancel, he was also on the way to selling out.”

The festival still did 70 percent business due to such acts as Söhne Mannheims, Paolo Nutini, Regina Spektor, and Rea Garvey selling out their headline appearances at the 1,500-capacity KKL.

The only event to mar the proceedings was when a gas bottle being used at one of the food stalls on the quayside exploded, injuring five people. At press time two of them were still in hospital.

The local Lucerne authority has confirmed that the festival wasn’t responsible for the incident and that it fulfilled all its health and safety requirements.

Other acts on the Blue Balls bill included Kaiser Chiefs, Keb’ Mo, Gentleman & The Evolution, Mika, Noisettes, and The Kills.