5 Biggest Festival Failures of the Summer
5. Hard Summer Festival
It’s never a good omen for a festival when it’s consistently forced to change locations. Last year, Hard Summer festival had to do just that, uprooting itself from L.A. State Historic Park to Whittier Narrows Recreation Center. Despite mixed reviews, the rec center in San Gabriel Valley was larger than the previous location, so hopes were high for the EDM festival boasting 70,000+ attendees. And thennnn… somebody died from a drug overdose (this is why we can’t have nice things). As if that weren’t bad enough, the countless sneak-ins on Saturday forced security to clamp down on Sunday, and thus led to 140 arrests over the weekend. While it hasn’t been officially confirmed, sources close to the L.A. County-managed property have said that Hard Festival will not be invited back next year. In other words: you took too much, go home.
4. Phases of the Moon Festival
Although new ones seem to be cropping up everywhere, we know that putting on a festival is not an easy task. So we have the utmost respect for those that attempt it, and nobody expects a fest to run perfectly in its first year. Now that we have those niceties out of the way, let’s talk sh*t about Phases of the Moon festival. It began last weekend with a rocky start: bad weather (a common theme in this article), ridiculously long lines to get in, and delays opening the festival ground. Due to the rain, cars that had arrived the previous night were not let in, and people who had paid for car camping were forced to park at the airport and take the shuttle to the festival in the AM. (Let the raging out on social media ensue.) After all that got sorted out, another security blunder took place on Sunday night when a Widespread Panic “fan” jumped onstage during the band’s set and hit drummer Todd Nance with a drumstick. So maybe don’t let that guy into the festival next year.
3. Electric Zoo
After last year’s tragedies, people wondered whether there would even be another Electric Zoo this year. Well, there was, and it seems attendees had enough of the scare put in ’em that there were no fatalities and everybody had good clean fun (right???). But Mother Nature had her own plans, and due to “dangerous and severe weather conditions” the festival was forced to evacuate folks on Sunday, the final day of the three-day affair. Kaskade, Chase & Status, Bingo Players and Alesso were just some of the acts unable to perform. The real bust here is that although there were only six hours left in the weekend-long event, festival promoters still had to refund those with Sunday passes. Ouch.
2. Hudson Music Project
It seems that Winston Farm in Saugerties, NY, is cursed. It began with the first ever Woodstock festival, in which torrential downpours created a muddy mess everywhere and iconic images of attendees rolling around in said filth. Same thing happened again at Woodstock in ’94, only this time not only was there rain and mud, but temps dropped to 32 degrees. Thus it seems only fitting that the inaugural year of The Hudson Music Project would end with–you guessed it–rain. Like, a lot of rain. Like, so much rain that festival management cancelled a day of music, forced festival-goers to stay inside their tents (no amount of acid is going to make that fun. OK, maybe there is an amount. But I wouldn’t recommend it), and left hoards of people stranded. Food vendors closed up shop, and cars were being towed out of mud piles. In fact, I think there are probably still some folks hanging out in Saugerties stranded. To add insult to injury, many folks complained of rude and clueless staff, who–instead of trying to help people–were just trying to make needless arrests.
1. Jabberwocky Festival
Just three days before the festival was set to take place in London, independent promoter ATP (All Tomorrow’s Parties) pulled the plug on the two-day Jabberwocky Festival featuring heavy-hitters James Blake and Neutral Milk Hotel. The company cited poor ticket sales as the reason, despite tweeting just a week earlier that there were less than 200 tickets left before it would be sold out. While shocking at first, upon further investigation it seems that ATP has dealt with financial troubles in the past. According to The Guardian, “In 2012, the firm’s directors, Barry Hogan and Deborah Higgins, put the company then running ATP’s gigs and festivals into liquidation. That firm owed creditors more than £2.6m at the time. The losses were principally caused by poor ticket sales for festivals.” But, poor financial planning isn’t the reason Jabberwocky made the number one spot on our festival blunders list. It’s because due to such short notice of the cancellation, countless bands and festival attendees were stranded en route to London. Although tickets were refunded, the cost of travel and accommodations for both musicians and fans could not be replaced. And neither can their trust.