Organizers Cancel 2018 LouFest

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The ninth annual LouFest, scheduled to take place this coming weekend at Forest Park in St. Louis, has been canceled. Organizers issued a letter citing financial concerns and the threat of bad weather among the reasons for the cancelation. Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, Modest Mouse, The Head & The Heart and Margo Price were among the acts slated to perform at LouFest.

LouFest organizers Listen Live Entertainment’s note, which was posted early this morning, cited “the loss of two of the event’s top sponsors, scheduling and contract issues with major artists, and existing debt from previous events” among their financial hurdles. The letter also noted “the fickle St. Louis weather” made organizers “extremely nervous” due to their dependence on walkup sales.

Rumors that the festival would be canceled persisted in recent weeks. On August 31, organizers tweeted “We are 100% good to go—load-in has already kicked off! We’ve seen what’s out there and we’ve heard your concerns, but everything is going to plan and we’re pumped for next weekend!” in response to a report of contractors pulling out.

LouFest’s ticketing company Front Gate Tickets will issue refunds to ticketholders. “Although we don’t currently have the funds to issue refunds, the exceptional festival ticketing company we selected, Front Gate Tickets, owned by Live Nation and Ticketmaster, will be stepping up to refund all fans in full while we work to repay our debts,” Listen Live Entertainment’s letter notes.

Read the full note posted on LouFest’s website:

Dear St. Louis,

We are sad to announce that LouFest 2018 has been cancelled. We know this is a great disappointment to many and that there has been wide speculation around our event. We want to share what’s been going on directly with you.

First, and as is usually the case when things like this happen, LouFest had several financial hurdles. The loss of two of the event’s top sponsors, scheduling and contract issues with major artists, and existing debt from previous events have all put immense pressure on the balance sheet.

Overcoming those setbacks while trying to grow the Fest has been a challenge, one that LouFest was on target to meet until a bit of unfortunately timed media coverage caused many of our vendors and artists to demand up-front payment just days before gates were set to open. LouFest simply couldn’t make that happen.

Second, the fickle St. Louis weather has made us extremely nervous. 2018 pre-sale ticket volume has been fantastic but the festival does rely on walkups to be financially successful. We know first-hand that a rain-soaked weekend like our event experienced in 2016 would both kill that traffic and do physical harm to Forest Park. We feel it would be irresponsible to continue to invest in an event that might not be able to realize its exceptional potential.

Although we don’t currently have the funds to issue refunds, the exceptional festival ticketing company we selected, Front Gate Tickets, owned by Live Nation and Ticketmaster, will be stepping up to refund all fans in full while we work to repay our debts.

We want to recognize the sponsors, vendors, partners, and fantastic team members who have been working around the clock in support of LouFest 2018. Producing this event has been a labor of love for our family and the staff – we see it as our gift to our music-loving city.

It has been thrilling to bring so much joy to fans, recognition to St. Louis, a spotlight to its artists, and an estimated $8 million in revenue to the region each year. For that, we will always be proud.

Mike Van Hee – Managing Partner – Listen Live Entertainment