Soulfest, Out On The Weekend Cancel Last-Minute

Low ticket sales were behind last-minute cancellations of two Australian festivals.

R&B Soulfest axed all three dates, while Americana-themed Out On The Weekend announced its Oct. 24 inaugural entry into Sydney had gone dark. Soulfest was to stage outdoors at Sydney’s The Domain, Melbourne’s Myer Music Bowl and Springs Stadium in Auckland Oct. 24-26.

With a bill including Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, Miguel, Jill Scott, De La Soul, Talib Kweli & Mos Def, Eric Benet and Daniel Merriweather, promoter John Denison expected 12,000 at each stop. Sales were only 48 percent of the target.

“It was a simple case of cancelling now or going ahead with the festival and leaving a trail of millions dollars of unserviceable debt to local suppliers and leaving a raft of businesses in tatters,” said Denison.

He added he had already invested A$2 million ($1.4 million) “in artists payments, venue deposits, marketing, accommodation, and travel deposits that are non refundable.” The cancellation of the festival and sideshows was a blow to the inaugural Soulfest Asia, initially scheduled in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Oct. 17.

The two festivals were to share major international acts. Soulnation Asia Sdn Bhd postponed the Asian festival to December, while headliners were sourced.

Out On The Weekend canceled its Oct. 24 Sydney debut. The second city was added after a successful 2014 inaugural launch in Melbourne.

Promoters said, “While our expectations were not huge, we are greatly surprised at the lack of sales and cannot proceed both financially or logistically with the number of tickets sold.”