The massive festival of R&B, hip-hop and soul – which was due to feature performances by Mary J. Blige, Miguel, Lauryn Hill and more – has been completely shit-canned, along with all of its scheduled sideshows, in the wake of alleged “poor ticket sales”.
Needless to say, punters #aremadbro.
Not-happy-jan fans have blasted Soulfest promoters on social media for the eleventh-hour cancellation, with those who forked out cash for flights and accommodation (quite understandably) extra-cheesed.
As one punter on the Soulfest Facebook page put it (in a comment which, at the time of writing, has ticked up a whopping 712 likes):
And as another commenter points out, it’s not the first time that the promoter of Soulfest has run into some trouble.
The man behind it all, John Denison, was involved in another urban festival called Supafest which collapsed spectacularly in 2013 following a veritable piss-tsunami of artist and venue cancellations, leaving the festival awash with around $17 million worth of debt.
And last year’s Soulfest was dogged by a similar brand of problems. While the festival itself did actually go ahead, it left in its wake a trail of mass last-minute cancellations, pissed-off artists and myriad sound issues. Not to mention top-billed act Mos Def pulled a surprise no-show to not one but two of his scheduled sideshows, and for really shit reasons.
Despite all this, last year’s inaugural event was pretty well-received by fans. Now we’re just a week out from this year’s event and the whole thing has been turfed.
An official statement from the promoters reads, in part: “Despite a stellar line-up of artists and the best promotional endeavours on Soulfest’s behalf, the event has simply not received the support via ticket sales, and the financial loss that would be incurred by the event if it were to go ahead as planned would be devastating”.
However, multiple punters have also lashed out on social media, claiming that they had in fact attempted to purchase tickets to some of Soulfest 2016’s Australian festival dates, only to be told that it was sold out:
When I went to get soulfest tickets it was saying sold out … Now it's cancelled because of poor ticket sales .. That makes sense
— Taylor Mae (@thatdamndel) October 13, 2015
Today’s Soulfest cancellation also follows ominous comments from organiser John Denison, claiming that Australia has become a “boutique festival country”, which can no longer handle big festivals.
At the time of writing, no artists have posted their reactions to Soulfest 2015’s abrupt cancellation on social media.
According to Soulfest organisers, those who bought tickets to the festival online or by phone will have their money automatically refunded within 14 days, while others who made bookings at ticketing outlets will have to return their tickets from whence they came in order to claim a refund.
UPDATE 17/10/15: Soulfest promoter John Denison has revealed just how bad the festival’s 2015 ticket sales were, and has maintained that all advertised artists were on board for the festival, despite rumours that some were not.
Gallery: Soulfest 2014 Sydney, 18.10.14 / Photos: Liam Cameron