Back from the dead - can festival failures be resurrected?
By DanVF on 15 August 2008As the credit crunch tightens the proverbial
belt around our ever-shrinking waists, it's becoming more difficult to
stage festivals - especially new ones. Already this semester Wild In The Country and Blissfields
have pulled the plug on their events, while Lodestar Festival has failed to get off the ground
for the second year running.
However, with the stiff upper lip stubbornness that's made Britain great, they've all vowed to return in 2009. Just dropping short of faux-Austrian accents mimicking Arnie in Terminator, the aforementioned have set their sights of revivals and, in the terms of Zoo Thousand and Eight , a revamp to make sure the show does go on next year. But can these bashes be brought back from the brink?
Take Zoo Thousand for example: the festival went ahead this despite falling 8,000 short of its 20,000 capacity and fans still grumbled about a lack of toilets and drinking water as well as the extensive queues for entering the site. They are similar criticisms to the ones Field Day faced back in 2007 and with just over a week to go until Field Day's second attempt, fans are about to discover if they’ve learned from their mistakes.
But, unfortunately for Zoo, the problems widen slightly surrounding a fall out between organisers and Dizzee Rascal's agency Primary Talent International. Dizzee was one of the acts that didn't perform at the event alongside Athlete (cancelled) and Roni Size (paid but didn't play) because, according to his agent Peter Elliot, the organisers were in "gross breach of contract." Elliot also vows that Zoo will, "never get an act from [him] again," which rules out Babyshambles, Rob Da Bank, The Streets, Oasis and even Daniel Bedingfield. Bummer. Teething problems are one thing, but blotches on your band booking form quite another.
Wild In The Country may suffer in similar band booking circumstances after cancelling the all-nighter just 48 hours before it was due to begin. The festival's headliner Bjork practically pulled the event's life-support machine plug herself, citing "significant problems with the event, including its staging, sound and lighting," as reasons for her to cancel her apperance, just days after financial backing withdrew. Organisers are determined to host the festival again this time next year, but with the event's termination so close to kick off, how many fans will be inclined to go Wild in 2009?
Other unfortunate casualties include the Wax On: Live debut, which waxed off before it had a chance to shine and the award winning Blissfields , who walked away with the 'Best Small Festival Award' at the UK Festival Awards in 2007. The Hampshire event upped sticks and up-scaled to Matterley Bowl after two successful stints at Bradley Farm, but it would seem it was just a step too far.
All the events vow to be back next year, but which is more admiral: cancelling the festival before it goes ahead or running the festival even if you're low on tickets, toilets and, ultimately, money? Which of these events do you think will be back in 2009?