NewsWritten by Greg Moskovitch on September 16, 2013
UPDATE: Harvest Festival 2013 has been officially cancelled. More details here.
Soundwave Festival promoter AJ Maddah has had a busy day, with news of his purchase of Big Day Out promoter Ken West‘s stake in the iconic music festival. However Australia’s “most powerful music figure” took time out to clear things up regarding his other project, the ailing Harvest Festival.
It was recently announced that the boutique event was a sitting duck for cancellation, following poor ticket sales and what was described as a general “lack of interest.” Maddah took to his beloved Twitter account to confirm the festival’s possible cancellation, saying that the festival has no external debt and as such it was at risk of folding rather than collapsing.
Maddah assured fans that he would manage the fallout of a Harvest cancellation, most likely bringing the bands over to Soundwave or organising headline tours. Harvest band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club confirmed the cancellation of the event on their Facebook page, assuring fans that they would still be visiting Down Under.
Now Maddah has once again taken to Twitter to clear up a few things regarding Harvest. Maddah stated that the likelihood of the festival’s cancellation is an unfortunate “99%”, but insisted that he is “desperately trying to seek the best outcome for everyone.”
Maddah took the time to assure any punters who have already purchased Harvest tickets, that they will be “refunded 100%” for the price of purchase as well as “all charges.” Maddah also stated that he was currently trying to figure out a “preferential ticketing system” for those punters already holding tickets, that would allow them to get “first shot” at headline shows.
The touring mogul expressed some hope for keeping the Melbourne leg of the event, though wasn’t optimistic, tweeting “I have been desperately trying to maybe salvage Melbourne but it does not look like it can stand up by itself.”
UPDATE: Reports have started coming in about the fate of the bands slated to play the now-cancelled festival, with fans having already received confirmation for headline shows from Neutral Milk Hotel and Desparecidos.
Maddah has hinted at the possibility of some Harvest bands joining the Big Day Out lineup, stating “We’re still trying to figure out what to do w CSS. Am going to ask Ken if he will have them join BDO.” There is also speculation that alt-rock outfit Eels may join Brazilians CSS in jumping ship to BDO.
Black Rebel Motorcycle club confirmed via their Facebook page that while the event has been cancelled, they were still making the trip Down Under. While Primus and Mutemath remain as Soundwave prospects, with the announcement of which bands made the leap to Soundwave 2014 expected some time early to mid October.
Maddah confirmed via Twitter that Desaparecidos would be making the trip over and was optimistic about singer-songwriter M Ward.
Australian appearances by Massive Attack, Volcano Choir and others remain in negotiation.
UPDATE 17/09/13: Maddah has today confirmed that Massive Attack will not be touring Australian in the wake of Harvest’s cancellation. Eels are now looking likely for a headline tour in November.
Gallery: 10 Other Great Aussie Festivals That Tried And Failed
RIP Summersault: 1995-1996 - Now here’s a mystery worthy of Steven King. How could a summer touring festival boasting the likes of Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth and Rancid crumble? Well, don’t spend too much time tripping on it because that's what happened with Summersault, which never saw the light of day again after 1996.
RIP Livid: 1989-2003 - Livid was once the place to be. Kicking off in Brisbane before even the '90s did, it had a strong hold over a demographic shared only by Big Day Out. It was Livid's decision to branch out nationally which ultimately led to its demise, as Homebake and BDO simply out muscled the Brissy-born event.
RIP Metal For The Brain: 1991-2006 - For 15 years, the Canberra-based Metal For The Brain was the bees knees for Australian metal. Curated by Alchemist, the event hit a few hurdles in its final years, including a skipped year. Ultimately, it was decided that the fear of debt had become too great and organisers bowed out gracefully, unlike some...
RIP Peats Ridge: 2005-2012 - Peats had become one of the most adored live music events in Australia. Putting a strong emphasis on the environment and volunteer work, it was a once-a-year opportunity to get your hippie on and relax. Unfortunately, organisers had the same idea and became a little too relaxed with their coffers, sending the event into the red and leaving many artists out of pocket after its 2012 NYE event
RIP Playground Weekender: 2007-2012 - Many of us have some pretty great, albeit blurry, memories from one Playground Weekender or another. In a time where boutique festivals weren’t taking place every second weekend, it was a much welcome break from the usual festival madness. However the event was struck by crazy flooding, leaving organisers hugely out of pocket and leaving ticket holders battling for refunds.
Cockatoo Island, Sydney harbour
RIP Cockatoo Island/The Great Escape: 2005-2007 - The Great Escape, formerly known as Cockatoo Island Music Festival had everything going for it. A dedicated following, a healthy cross section of pop, hip hop and dance and a cozy spot on the Easter Long Weekend. Then they went and moved the date, resulting in poor ticket sales and the event being cancelled 2 months prior to show time in 2008.
RIP Movement: 2013-2013 - Other than the odd headlining tour, it’s rare that international hip hop acts commit to their tours Down Under, so when a festival claims to be bringing a whole heap of international hip hop acts Down Under it should be a great idea...until 3 weeks prior to show time and the reality that international hip hop acts rarely commit to their tours Down Under sinks in.
RIP Offshore: 1997-2001 - Starting off as a foolproof way to keep the kids busy while they weren’t at the Rip Curl Pro surfing event in Torquay, Victoria, Offshore soon became too big for its own good. A crowd of local residents petitioned until their faces were blue, launching legal battles which lost the event its liquor license in 2001. the festival was simply unable to recover.
RIP Good Vibrations: 2004-2011 - There’s a good chance Good Vibes was one of your first-ever festivals. It was an easy event to appreciate, as the talent booked was usually thoroughly represented on any mainstream radio station, but as organisers soon found out, that's also the expensive type of talent. Citing “competitive demand for artists resulting in higher artist fees, unpredictable weather and a shifting live music market”, the festival took a bow in 2011.
RIP Soundwave Revolution: 2011-2011 - The origins behind Soundwave Revolution are still unclear. Popular belief was that it attempted to bottleneck the market to chock out their new rivals No Sleep Til… That alleged plan may have worked, but when Van Halen pulled out and the festival was canned, we were left with no option but to wait it out until regular Soundwave to get our fix of the heavy stuff.