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Australia’s Promise Village axed days after on-sale

A new Australian festival has been cancelled just five days after tickets went on sale.

Promise Village, presented by Triple J, was due to take place on 12 October at Langley Park in Perth with headliners Jorja Smith, J Hus and Headie One.

Festival co-founder Emal Naim told Perth Now that the event was pulled because there weren’t enough ticket sales or local government support.

“It unfortunately didn’t hold up to initial expectations and there was not much support to sustain costs, it just wasn’t feasible anymore,” he said. “We’ve made the decision indefinitely to not return to Perth, we’re scared to.”

Presale tickets went public five days ago while the general sale opened two days ago.

“It unfortunately didn’t hold up to initial expectations and there was not much support to sustain costs, it just wasn’t feasible anymore”

When the event was announced last month, festival co-director Naim said: “R&B as a genre now is as strong as ever, and it’s about time Australia gets a live experience dedicated to it. This has been a long time coming.”

The likes of Uncle Waffles, Headie One, Nemzzz, NSG DBN Gogo, Sarz, Jazmine Nikitta and Sasha Fern were also due to perform at the new festival.

The Promise Village line-up shared many acts with the established festival Promiseland – both of which were co-founded by Naim.

The next edition of the event, which was launched in 2022, is due to take place in October on the Gold Coast.

Naim’s company Festco is also behind Souled Out – a new festival that sold 75,000 tickets across five cities in Australasia for its inaugural edition – and Eden Festival in New Zealand.

The cancellation of Promise Village comes days after the Australian Festivals Association pleaded for “the ongoing war on festivals” to end.

 


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MetalDays calls it quits: ‘We were too proud, too naive’

Slovenia’s MetalDays festival will not return, organisers today (9 July) announced in a remarkably candid and lengthy statement.

The five-page statement details a raft of issues and mistakes that ultimately led to the event’s demise, with the organisers apologising for “refunds not returned, unpaid bands, and unsettled production expenses”.

“We made mistakes that, even though they occurred during unprecedented times, should not have been made by promoters with our level of expertise,” it reads.

The laundry list of issues named by organisers includes financial losses caused by Covid-19, severe flooding at the 2023 edition, the cost-of-living crisis and significant operational cost increases.

Organisers say they offered the company and brand to “all the major players” including Live Nation, Festival Republic and Superstruct Entertainment, and approached major festivals to take it over to fulfil obligations that remained.

“Regrettably, despite our best efforts, this did not happen, and it is just not economically feasible to continue,” they added.

“We made mistakes that should not have been made by promoters with our level of expertise”

The statement pointed to Covid-19 cancellations in 2020 and 2021 as the beginning of the downturn for the company, adding that the organisation didn’t have any savings and “almost didn’t get any financial help from the government”.

Despite struggling with regular expenses like office rentals, storage house rentals, and employee wages, organisers admitted they “didn’t change anything regarding our regular expenses”.

“Our judgment was wrong, and it was a mistake to continue our business affairs as if nothing had happened,” they added.

In 2021, MetalDays considered filing for bankruptcy but instead took a private loan to “be able to survive as a company and to slowly return requested refunds”.

“Could we have known this in advance and should we have declared bankruptcy before the 2022 edition? Probably. Now that sounds like the right decision. At the time, it didn’t seem like an option at all. We were too proud and too naive.”

The festival promised to refund tickets to those who didn’t want to roll them over to the 2022 edition but by then, “all production costs had risen (in some cases by 300%), but we were sold out with ticket prices too low that were calculated before March 2020”.

“Should we have declared bankruptcy before the 2022 edition? Probably”

In addition, they had “already used all the loan funds for refunds and to keep the business alive. Without a ticket price increase and with all the unexpected price rises, we kept pushing back the refunds, creating a bad vibe going into an already sensitive [2022] festival edition.”

Prior to the 2022 edition, the festival was due to move from Tolmin to a new venue but plans were hampered by Covid-19. When construction started on a bypass road that split the site, the event’s capacity was slashed from 12,000 to 7,000.

“This not only increased costs but also limited our ability to sell additional tickets at a reasonable price in 2022,” reads the statement. “Managing this was a logistical nightmare that resulted in significant production expenses and visitors’ dissatisfaction.”

Issues surrounding the 2022 edition were compounded by the introduction of a cashless payment system, managed by the festival’s longtime gastronomy partner Amaia Esa. MetalDays alleges that the firm did not honour contracts and unlawfully withheld a significant portion of the money owed to the MetalDays organising company.

The statement also mentioned former crew members setting up a rival metal festival in Tolmin after MetalDays’ final edition at the site, and accused them of igniting a smear campaign in local press.

“In total, well over half a million of private funds were invested by shareholders in MetalDays from 2021 until 2023”

In 2023, the festival attempted to atone for previous issues by “excessively spending” on the lineup. The organisers say they had sold a portion of shares in the MetalDays promoting company, which was invested in the 2023 edition.

“One shareholder also took an additional loan, which was likewise invested in MetalDays 2023. In total, well over half a million of private funds were invested by shareholders in MetalDays from 2021 until 2023, covering both production costs of 2023 and processed refunds.”

Severe flooding cut the 2023 festival short by two days, resulting in further losses for the organisation. Fans showed their sympathy by purchasing pre-sale tickets for 2024 and the festival claims that, with that money, it would have been able to cover all 2023 production expenses, including bands.

“If we could survive this financially, we believe this unfortunate event would create such a strong bond between visitors and that it would have a positive outcome in the end. However crazy this may sound. Unfortunately, promised state aid still didn’t arrive, and this edition lived to be our last one.”

“We are sorry for refunds not returned, unpaid bands, and unsettled production expenses more than you can imagine”

The 2024 edition was cancelled in January, with tickets once again rolled over to 2025, which will not take place.

“We’re not looking for excuses,” concludes the statement. “Our goal is to present the last four MetalDays years and all significant events as they truly happened. We had to think like businessmen when COVID-19 started and we should have declared bankruptcy back then. Being proud, being friendly, and relying on luck has no place in business.

“Many individuals and companies would have not been harmed if this decision had been made at the right time. We wish to apologize to each one of them. We are sorry for refunds not returned, unpaid bands, and unsettled production expenses more than you can imagine. We now know what we could and should have done differently. However, the global pandemic and historic flood created challenges that were too big for us to manage effectively at the time.

“When we return, it will be with something new, exciting, and capable of setting a new trend. And most importantly, funds must be available before the first ticket is sold.”

MetalDays launched in 2013 and has attracted bands including Megadeth, Slayer, Amon Amarth, Volbeat and Sabaton.

Read the full statement here: https://www.metaldays.net/

 


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Malaysia’s Good Vibes Festival cancelled

Malaysia’s Good Vibes Festival 2024 has been cancelled out of respect for the coronation of the king, organisers have announced.

Last year’s edition was also partly cancelled after The 1975’s Matty Healy hit out at the country’s strict anti-LGBT laws and kissed a male bandmate on stage.

Despite the fallout, the festival was due to return on 20 and 21 July, albeit in a different location than last year and one day shorter.

However, promoter Future Sound Asia today (1 July) announced it received a letter from authorities stating that “large-scale performances involving international artists are not to be held on 20 July and are to be rescheduled to a later date, out of respect for the Coronation Ceremony of His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, the 17th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia”.

It continues: “Due to the nature of Good Vibes Festival (GVF) which involves multiple touring acts over multiple days, rescheduling the festival is not possible.”

“Due to the nature of Good Vibes Festival (GVF) which involves multiple touring acts over multiple days, rescheduling the festival is not possible”

As a result, Future Sound Asia has cancelled the festival, originally scheduled for 20 and 21 July at Resorts World Awana in Genting Highlands.

It added that all ticket purchasers for GVF will automatically receive full refunds to the payment method used for their purchase.

The 2024 edition would have featured J Balvin, Peggy Gou, Joji, BIBI and more, as well as returning Malaysian acts who had their performances cancelled from the 2023 event.

Last year’s 10th-anniversary edition was axed after The 1975’s Healy kissed a male bandmate on stage.

The set was cut short, and promoters Future Sound Asia (FSA) were ordered by the government to call off the rest of the three-day festival at Sepang International Circuit.

FSA described Good Vibes Festival’s cancellation as a “catastrophic financial blow” and demanded £2 million in compensation from The 1975. Legal proceedings are ongoing.

 


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Germany’s MELT festival to close after 27 years

Germany’s MELT festival has announced that this year’s edition will be its last, partly due to “insurmountable changes in the festival landscape”.

The 20,000-capacity festival, promoted by Live Nation-owned Goodlive, has taken place since 1997 and hosted artists including Jamie xx, Little Simz, Bonobo, Alt-J, Jon Hopkins, Mogwai, Justice, Hot Chip and Aphex Twin.

Last night, organisers revealed that they “could no longer continue the festival” after 2024.

“Despite our commitment and efforts in recent years, we recognise that the original Melt no longer fits into the German festival market and cannot withstand the developments of recent years without radically altering the festival concept,” director Florian Czok, a 2019 New Boss, added.

“It’s a difficult decision, but we believe it’s time to explore new paths and create space for fresh ideas.”

“We believe it’s time to explore new paths and create space for fresh ideas”

The swansong edition will feature over 120 artists, including Sampha, James Blake, Sugababes, DJ Koze, Romy, Marlon Hoffstadt, Overmono, James Blake, Obongjayar, Romy and Skepta. Several surprises are also due to be announced in the coming days and weeks, according to organisers.

The farewell edition will return to the Ferropolis open-air museum, near Gräfenhainichen, Saxony-Anhalt, where it has been held since 1999.

Over the years, MELT has won numerous international awards, including Best Festival, Artist’s Favourite European Festival, and Green ‘N’ Clean Festival Of The Year. It is thought to be one of Germany’s biggest open-air electronic events.

News of its closure comes days after Finland’s Sideways Festival announced that it won’t take place in its current form after 2024.

Organisers of the Helsinki festival, which is promoted by Fullsteam Agency, also cited difficult conditions in the festival landscape.

Goodlive’s festival portfolio now comprises Splash!, Full Force, Heroes Festival and Superbloom Festival.

 

 

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A post shared by MELT Festival (@meltfestival)


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More than 40 UK festivals cancelled for 2024

More than 40 UK festivals have been postponed, cancelled or shut down in 2024, according to a new report from the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF).

Bradford’s Challenge Festival is the latest casualty, with the free event axed just days before it was scheduled due to “unrealistic demands” being placed on the organisers.

In the past five years alone, 172 festivals in the UK have disappeared, according to AIF, the UK’s leading not-for-profit festival trade association.

Of those, 96 events were lost due to Covid-19, 36 were lost throughout 2023, and 40 have been lost since the start of the year.

El Dorado, Pennfest, Connect Music Festival110 Above FestivalNASS Festival, Leopollooza, Long Division, BluedotBarn On The Farm and Splendour are among this year’s losses, with the majority of organisers blaming a significant increase in operational costs.

AIF has warned that without intervention, the country will see over 100 festivals disappear in 2024 due to unpredictable rising costs.

“The speed of festival casualties in 2024 shows no sign of slowing”

In response to the crisis, the trade association has launched a campaign called Five Percent For Festivals that aims to inform festivalgoers about the problems that organisers have faced over the last five years, encouraging them to contact their MPs to lobby for a VAT reduction on tickets.

It states that temporary support from the UK Government – lowering VAT from 20 per cent to five per cent on ticket sales for the next three years – is all that’s needed to give festival promoters the space they need to rebuild.

“The speed of festival casualties in 2024 shows no sign of slowing,” says AIF CEO John Rostron said. “We are witnessing the steady erosion of one of the UK’s most successful and culturally significant industries not because of a lack of demand from the public but because of unpredictable, unsustainable supply chain costs and market fluctuations.”

“In asking for a temporary reduction in VAT related to ticket sales, we have provided the government with a considered, targeted and sensible solution, which would save this important sector. We need action now.”

Challenges are being felt by festivals of all sizes across Europe, with FKP Scorpio’s Stephan Thanscheidt recently telling IQ that it “has become very challenging to promote festivals in a way that keeps pushing things forward and is economically viable.”

Read the full 2024 festival preview, which also features Christof Huber (Gadget, Yourope) and Jim King (AEG Presents), here.

 


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Lovers & Friends Festival cancelled last minute

US festival Lovers & Friends was cancelled less than 15 hours before it was scheduled to begin due to “dangerous weather”.

Promoted by Live Nation, the one-day festival was supposed to kick off on midday Saturday (4 May) in Las Vegas, US, with headlining sets from Usher, Backstreet Boys, Janet Jackson and Alicia Keys.

However, an overnight statement from organisers said they had been “monitoring the weather for several days and proactively preparing for a windy Saturday,” but decided it was too unsafe after advice from public officials and the National Weather Service, which warned of high winds and “gusts potentially more than 60 mph.”

“This was an incredibly heartbreaking decision to make as we are aware that fans have travelled from all over the world to enjoy this incredible lineup of superstars and have been looking forward to this event for several months,” the statement said. “We’ve worked hard to create an amazing event for you, and we are just as disappointed as you are.”

Ja Rule, Ashanti, Gwen Stefani, Monica, Brandy, Nas, M.I.A., Snoop Dogg, Ciara and Ludacris were also featured on the 90s-centric lineup.

“This was an incredibly heartbreaking decision to make as we are aware that fans have travelled from all over the world”

Tickets ranged from $325 (€302) to $695 (€645). Organisers said those who purchased tickets through official channels will receive a refund within 30 days.

Since launching in 2020, Friends & Lovers Festival has experienced its fair share of upsets. When it was first announced in 2020, several artists on its lineup denied their involvement. That year’s event was later cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The festival finally debuted in Vegas in 2022 but three attendees later sued organisers, claiming they failed to provide adequate safety and security measures when rumours of gunfire at the event caused them to be trampled in a stampede. The case is still pending.

Lovers & Friends is the latest festival impacted by extreme weather, following the recent cancellation of California’s Sol Blume.

In the US, adverse weather coverage has “increased significantly” in the last five years, according to Jeff Torda from Higginbotham. Backing this point, a recent Billboard article claimed premiums in North America had tripled in recent years.

The latest edition of ILMC also saw industry leaders discussing ways to cope with the impact of weather on festivals and open-air live music events.

 


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Jay-Z’s Made In America cancelled again

Jay-Z’s Made In America Festival has been cancelled for the second year in a row, organisers have confirmed.

Launched in 2012, the annual two-day event traditionally takes place every Labor Day weekend on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Yesterday (April 3) Made In America posted a statement confirming that the event “will not take place in 2024” as planned. Bosses did not give a specific reason for it being shelved.

“Since its inception, this groundbreaking festival has celebrated music & community – from creating a space for fans to connect, to uplifting local small businesses & shining a light on important causes,” organisers continued.

Made In America that it “promises an exciting return to the festival” in the future

“It has strived for accessibility, eliminating barriers through affordable tickets and location. As purveyors of change, the Made In America executive production team is reimagining a live music experience that affirms our love and dedication to music and the work we do.”

The Roc Nation-produced event signed off by saying that it “promises an exciting return to the festival” in the future. No line-up details had been revealed for this year’s event.

Last year’s event was also axed less than a month out due to what organisers called “circumstances outside of production control”. Lizzo and SZA were set to headline the 2023 fest. In cancelling last year’s festival, organisers said that they would “deliver a top-tier festival experience” in 2024.

 


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UK festivals Barn On The Farm, Splendour cancelled

Two of the UK’s best-loved independent festivals, Barn On The Farm and Splendour, have been called off for 2024.

Splendour in Nottingham has been axed due to delays over tendering, according to promoter DHP Family.

DHP said it was told by the city council in May it needed to bid to continue running the 16-year-old event at Wollaton Park but “numerous delays” during the process meant it was now too late to stage Splendour this year.

George Akins, DHP’s managing director, said: “It has been a hugely frustrating time for us. Splendour could have gone ahead had the council heeded our warnings about the timescales required. 2023’s headliners were contracted more than a year in advance and everyone was aware of this.”

Akins said he was “well aware” of the city council’s current financial difficulties, but “some of these delays” pre-dated the announcement that the authority was effectively bankrupt.

He added: “We don’t believe it should have had any effect whatsoever. I would also say that Splendour is a significant income generator, not a cost, for the council.

The council responded: “We said last year that under the council’s new commercial strategy, the event fell into a category where a formal tender process was needed. This was to protect the authority legally, financially and to ensure the festival was achieving best value for the council and the residents of Nottingham.

“The procurement process is complex and has taken longer than we would have liked – this has made the viability of delivering a festival in 2024 very difficult.”

The council said it was “optimistic” that Splendour could return to its longtime home in 2025.

“Barn On The Farm’s recent announcement is a further warning sign of the difficult conditions facing independent festivals”

Barn on the Farm organisers yesterday (25 January) announced that the Gloucester festival – which has booked the likes of Ed Sheeran, Bombay Bicycle Club and Sigrid in its 14-year history – would be postponed until 2025 due to “financial difficulties”.

“As you know we’ve been openly vocal about the difficulties that we, alongside many other festivals, have faced over the last year,” reads a statement from the organisers. “So rather than rush into another season of planning and be on the rocks financially, we feel it’s better for us to use our time this year to focus on planning 2025 and making a huge comeback.”

Barn On The Farm 2025 will take place on 3–6 July at Over Farm, with tickets going on sale soon. Full refunds for the 2024 edition will be available until the end of the year.

“As you know the future of independent festivals [is] uncertain but my god do we need them for new music to survive,” the statement continues. “We hugely appreciate every single one of you who supports us moving forwards.”

John Rostron, Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO, commented: “Barn On The Farm’s recent announcement is a further warning sign of the difficult conditions facing independent festivals at the moment.

“Festivals are being squeezed by the rise in supply chain costs, and the effects of closures and debt incurred during COVID, meaning they are in a unique, perilous position that threatens the future of almost all but the very biggest operators in the UK.”

Rostron continued: “We again call on the government to expedite a lower VAT rate of 5% on ticket sales for the next three years to create the space for festivals to make it through this severe situation and back to the growth we all enjoyed in outdoor events prior to the pandemic.”

 


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Blue Ridge Rock Festival latest victim of weather

Organisers of the Blue Ridge Rock Festival in the US were forced to end the event early due to severe weather.

The sold-out festival took place at the Virginia International Raceway with acts including Slipknot, Death Punch, Megadeth, Pantera, Shinedown and Danzig, and was due to run between 7 and 10 September.

A powerful thunderstorm hit Blue Ridge (cap. 50,000) on its opening day, cutting Coheed and Cambria’s set short and prompting an evacuation of the racetrack.

The festival resumed the next day but organisers were forced to pull the plug on the final two days due to the approach of more dangerous weather.

“With heavy hearts, due to this weekend’s continued severe weather, we must announce the cancellation of the final days of Blue Ridge Rock Festival,” organisers announced via social media on Saturday (9 September).

“This has been an agonising turn of events for what was to be such a special weekend”

“Your safety and well-being are our foremost concerns. We understand the disappointment this brings, and we share immensely in your sadness. Please know that this decision was made with the utmost consideration for everyone involved and our focus now is on supporting those of you still on-site.”

“This has been an agonising turn of events for what was to be such a special weekend. There will be much more that we will unveil over the next few days. Rest assured, we will take care of you despite these difficult circumstances.”

Following the cancellation, several artists, including Shinedown, Papa Roach, and viral country sensation Oliver Anthony performed an impromptu set for disappointed fans.

Organisers said information regarding refunds will be made available early this week “when business re-opens.”

Extreme weather has impacted a number of 2023 festivals and outdoor concerts including IYKYKBluedot (UK), Pitchfork Festival Chicago (US)  Primavera (ES), Dutch festivals Awakenings, Bospop and Wildeburg, Alexandra Palace’s Kaleidoscope Festival and Robbie Williams’ concert in Austria.

 


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Dutch hip-hop festival axed due to ‘rising costs’

Dutch hip-hop festival Oh My! will no longer take place this year as organisers are “currently faced by some of the biggest challenges in our history”.

The festival is touted as the biggest urban festival in Europe and has previously hosted acts including Wizkid, DaBaby, Lil Baby, Meek Mill, Tory Lanez and Trey Songz.

This year’s edition was due to take place on 15 July at Almere Beach, in the province of Flevoland, and would’ve been the sixth annual instalment.

Last year’s 5th-anniversary event moved to Rotterdam’s De Kuip football stadium for the biggest edition in its history.

“The cost of living crisis, increased production costs and last-minute safety regulations are all weighing on our capacity”

“After an impressive five years of celebrating hip hop, R&B and Afrobeats with some of the world’s biggest acts, we’re faced by some of the biggest challenges in our history,” reads a statement from the organisers.

“The cost of living crisis, increased production costs in general and last-minute safety and crowd regulations we need to implement due to recent events in our industry are all weighing on our capacity to make Oh My! happen and deliver the standard you’ve come to expect of us. It is therefore with a heavy heart that we decided we can’t go forward with this year’s edition.”

Alluding to the future of the festival, organisers said they “look forward to updating you with our plans when the time is right”.

Other festivals that have been called off for 2023 include Falls Festival (Australia), Rolling Loud (US), Summerburst (Sweden), Hills of Rock (Bulgaria), InMusic (Croatia), Wireless GermanyHear Hear (Belgium) and Tempelhof Sounds and Tempelhof Sounds Presents (Germany).

 


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