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Stereosonic Founder Shares His Thoughts On Why The 2016 Festival Was Cancelled

We’ve been living in a post-Stereosonic society for less than 24 hours, and fans of the dance mega-fest are still trying to pick up the pieces and come to terms with why the 2016 event was ass-canned.

Enter Frank Cotela: Stereo founder and former owner of the festival, who’s been chatting with triple j re: his thoughts on what caused the major touring event to be placed on hiatus.

According to the big kahuna – despite media speculation – the cancellation of Stereo 2016 has likely got nothing to do with the widespread controversy over last year’s drug-related deaths at the Adelaide and Sydney legs of the festival.

“Festivals in general have come under the spotlight across Australia and world [for drug overdoses],” he told triple j’s Hack. “I don’t think that’s part of it.”

And he doesn’t think poor ticket sales are to blame, either.

“Interest in dance music in Australia is quite strong,” he said.

Instead, old mate reckons the festival’s shelving has probably got more to do with US promoter SFX’s financial trouble.

As a bit of background, SFX bought Stereo in 2013 for $75 million but kept Cotela and co-founder Richie McNeill on as consultants. But then earlier this year, the company announced that it had filed for bankruptcy in the US amid a reshuffling of the business to erase massive debts of around AUS$500 million.

At the time, the promoters said Stereo would not be affected by the move, but since then the Aussie arm of the company has been drastically downsized, its Melbourne office put up for lease and – of course – the 2016 edition of the festival has now been turfed.

The sudden cancellation of Stereo follows the recent demise of other big national touring festivals, including Soundwave, Future and Big Day Out.

In a post to his Facebook page today, Cotela also highlighted the impact that losing another major festival will have on the local scene: “[It] means sadly also gone are another 100+ local and international artist slots per city,” he said. “Production companies downsizing, collection society pools getting smaller for rights owners, 600 or so people that work on festivals per city out of a job. The list goes on and on.”

He also hinted at starting a new dance music event himself in the wake of Stereo’s demise, adding: “The chance to be part of something new that might arise is exciting and i for one am definitely not sitting around waiting to see what happens…Standby!!”

Read Frank Cotela’s full post below and tune into triple j’s Hack this arvo to hear his interview in full.

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