Ever since the nightmare that was Fyre Festival, promoters and concert attendees have wondered how sustainable the current landscape of music festivals really is. With more and more festivals popping up with an increasingly similar group of headliners, trying to be the next Coachella or Bonnaroo right out the gate, many are failing right before they even start.
The latest casualty is Karoondinha Festival which was reported by Billboard to have been canceled on Wednesday because ticket sales never met the promoters expectations. The three-day event was supposed to take place July 21-23 at Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, and included headliners like Chance the Rapper, John Legend, and Odesza. In addition to the music the festival also reportedly offered yoga sessions, cave tours, and gourmet food.
Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park is the family business of festival creators Kaleena and Paul Rallis and the siblings raised $5 million from local investors to put on the event. But while they predicted 30,000 attendees, the two say they should have scaled down the festival for 8,000 people. Sponsorship deals were also overestimated and fees along the way were not taken into account.
It probably didn’t help either that their headliner was Chance the Rapper who signed on for 14 festivals this year including Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Governor’s Ball. Earlier in June the Canadian festival Pemberton, which Chance the Rapper was also headlining, was canceled after the companies putting on the festival declared bankruptcy.
When promoters overestimate the uniqueness of their event and underestimate costs, it isn’t surprising then to see several festivals abruptly canceled after one or two years. Yesterday the xx’s festival Day + Night festival, which featured artists like Robyn and Earl Sweatshirt, was canceled because its location was just made an endangered area in Iceland.
“There’s an oversaturation of festivals all over the country,” Kaleena Rallis told Billboard. “It has been a hard year all around, especially for those trying to take a festival to market.”