Festivals: Out With The Old, Out With The New
An inordinate number of festivals scheduled for 2016 have been called off. At publication time Pollstar had record of 23 major festival cancellations, most of which were announced before tickets went on sale.
Of the events that sold tickets before bailing out, all were either dedicated to country music or held in Australasia. Of these, some fell through amid conflict and disorganization, such as Soundwave, while others gave absolutely no public information as to why the plug was pulled, like Dega Jam. A number of these festivals were relatively new.
A general assumption within the industry is that festival cancellation after tickets go on sale is usually due to poor ticket sales, but the festivals that were axed before selling tickets cited various reasons.
Some said they could not secure the right artists or venue, some cited financial problems, while others such as the Gathering of the Vibes festival said they simply needed a break.
Simultaneous to this large number of festivals ending, new festivals are starting up. Auckland City Limits, Shadow of the City, Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival , Eaux Claires have all been started in the last year, and Vertex, Moonstone, PromoWest Fest and Chicago Open Air are all slated for kickoff later in 2016.
Merryland Music Fest will host its inaugural event this year, and is being organized by All Good Presents, the promotion company born out of the now-canceled All Good Music Festival and Campout.
This kind of growth within the festival industry is unparalleled for decades.
New Music Confab founder Dave Stewart said at the recent SEVT conference that this represents a revival period in live music, according to Venues Today.
“There was a huge period for musical festivals in the 1960 and ’70s, then quite honestly they died,” Stewart said. “Other than the Grateful Dead, no one made money doing music festivals on a large scale until about the early 2000s. What happened with this generation, because for 20 years no one would do that?”
Below is a list of festivals cancelled before and after tickets went on sale:
2016 festivals canceled before ticket sales
All Good Music Festival and Campout
Big Day Out
Big Music Fest
Counterpoint Music and Arts Festival
A Day in the Country
Delaware Junction Festival
Gathering of the Vibes
Landmark Music Festival
Snowball Music Festival
Squamish Valley Music Festival
Wakarusa Music Festival
2016 festivals canceled after tickets sold
Big Barrel Country Music Festival
Space Coast Country
*Canceled due to weather conditions