It’s always sad to see a festival close its doors after many years of success. Or, even worse, just a few days before its inaugural edition. The Sherp is here to give you a lowdown on reasons why some upcoming and major festivals have been cancelled in the past, and how maybe festival promoters could learn a thing or two from history.
1. Land disputes
Land disputes cannot be ruled out as a deterrent for a music festival. Usually, large-scale events are planned months in advance, but even after obtaining all the necessary permissions, there’s a probable chance of the land owner suddenly changing their mind.
Take a look at Groove Parade for example. The 2015 edition of this festival was cancelled because one part of the estate that owned the grounds denied them permission. Considering that Groove Parade trudged on for 20 years, this was a major setback.
2. Company losses
When you don’t have money to run a festival, nothing will help you. Some sad cases of bankruptcy have spelled the downfall of major festivals. The downfall of the Australian festival scene is a fine example of no money being pumped into improving the festival scene.
The most recent example is the much-publicized implosion of SFX Entertainment, which ran into so many losses that TomorrowWorld will only be relegated to history books now. Read more on the downfall of TomorrowWorld here!
3. Poor ticket sales
Many factors come into play in this case. If your festival isn’t promoted properly, or if people show growing disinterest in the scene, a festival is bound to sell a paltry amount of tickets.
The mammoth Australian event, Soundwave Festival, recently got cancelled owing to a dearth in ticket sales, among a plethora of other reasons. You can read more on the downfall of Soundwave here.
You may have all the money in the world to run a mega festival, but without essential permits from officials, your festival is sure to be a no-go. This is why several events in Indian cities, especially Mumbai and Delhi, have been canned or have suffered a lot because of complications while obtaining permits.
In the case of international festivals, a prime example of this is the ill-fated Moonrise Festival. This Baltimore-based festival would have carried on without a hitch had they obtained all the necessary permits beforehand.
5. Founders running their mouth on sensitive issues
Generating a lot of bad PR because of your words could draw the worst possible reactions to your festival, especially when you run your mouth on sensitive topics. Why do you think Hi-Fi Music Adventure got cancelled?
The co-organizer of the festival, Anthony Dell’Orso posted a Facebook status publicly heckling Kesha and her ongoing situation, and that drew enough ire from the general public to shut down his entire festival. You can read our article on the same here!
The founder of EVOLVEFEST, David Bryson, belongs to the same boat thanks to his homophobic comments that drew widespread negative reactions from people, and ultimately resulted in the closure of his festival.
6. Scam claims
Claims of fraud and scams can do wonders to shut down any event. Any kind of bad news spreads like wildfire, and all those months spent in preparation for an event go down the drain.
This was exactly the case with a promising festival in Australia called Holi Play. Alleged scams relating to the lineup and the artists, along with some other reasons, resulted in the organizers pulling the festival off the calendar entirely.
7. Grim events
Disasters aren’t impossible at festivals, be it natural or man-made. Any kind of disaster could leave a festival’s credibility in shambles. Mishaps are often a result of horrible mismanagement, lack of space and sudden decisions.
Take a look at Love Parade in Berlin. In 2010, a stampede of sorts at the arrival ramp resulted in 21 deaths and over 200 injuries, and the German festival never saw the light of day again. You can read more on the Love Parade fiasco here.
A prime reason for events and festivals getting can celled, overcrowding can be avoided by choosing your festival space wisely, and estimating the number of visitors smartly.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with Oktoberfest London. The organizers could not handle the vast numbers that arrived for the opening night of the beer festival, and they called off the entire event after one night. Really bad planning for what was supposed to be a 4-day extravaganza. Needless to say, visitors were angry and they went on a hilarious Twitter rampage.
So, before you start a festival of your own, keep these events in mind, and don’t repeat history! Think about it.