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Festival Graveyard: The Festivals That Are No Longer With Us

Festival Graveyard: The Festivals That Are No Longer With Us


Everyone's heard a festival horror story. They echo in your consciousness upon planning for next year's excursion; what if my boy Drizzy Drake cancels? What if my wallet is stampeded into the squelchy mud? Or, what if my tent submerges along with all my belongings, so I can't remember where my friends are camped nor have any clothing and therefore am forced to spend the remainder of the festival completely naked with no friends? 

We all know of it happening to somebody (the latter was a true story, unfortunately) but we pray it isn't us this time around.

Now Halloween is upon us, what better occasion to pay tribute to the festival horror stories that plague the industry, starting with the festival graveyard.

Many festivals have departed our fair Earth, some that we keep close to our heart and remember fondly, others not so much. Will they rise from the dead? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, let's remind ourselves of the major festivals that were resigned to a permanent slumber. RIP:


1. T In The Park

 

'The' Scottish festival for 23 years came to an end in 2017 after Police Scotland stated that 429 crimes were reported at the previous edition - an all-time high. This along with increased traffic congestion and concerns about the local wildlife came to a head with the decision to keep T In The Park on an indefinite hiatus.

Luckily, TRNSMT rose from the ashes of TITP, ensuring that fervent Scottish crowds still get an opportunity to see the likes of Radiohead, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys and equally stellar indie, rock, and alternative artists in the heart of Glasgow rather than Strathallen Castle.

Still, with historic performances from Eminem, Blur, The Stones Roses, Beyoncé, Rage Against The Machine, and national hero Calvin Harris (who was introduced by none other than Will 'The Fresh Prince' Smith), T In The Park lives long in the memory.


2. Oxegen

 

Often considered T In The Park's Celtic sister due to sharing their lineups for a number of years, Ireland-based Oxegen also saw its demise in 2013.

Festival-goers were irked by the poor choice in headliners in 2011, with very few guitar-based bands on the lineup which lead to nominal ticket sales.

A favourite not only with local crowds but also rock royalty like Ronnie Wood and R.E.M's Michael Stipe (who was supposedly inspired to go on tour again after attending in 2007, headlining the following year), this wasn't enough to halt the decline into obscurity.


3. Sasquatch! Music Festival

 

Beautiful hillside scenery? An eclectic roster of bonafide indie, rock, and hip-hop stalwarts to delve into? Sounds ideal, yet Sasquatch! Music Festival made the decision to pull the plug this year.

Marred by poor ticket sales in 2018, the festival never recovered after Frank Ocean cancelled his headline performance in 2017 just weeks before the event, forcing the promoter's hand to cease after 16 years.


4. Rockness

 

Another Scottish festival to see an early grave was Rockness, which ended in 2013. 

Held at Loch Ness, Rockness was consigned to the history books (despite being referred to by many as 'the most beautiful festival in the world') putting its existence in disrepute alongside that of local mythical creature The Loch Ness Monster.


5. Ozzfest

 

Founded by 'Godfather of Heavy Metal' Ozzy Osbourne, Ozzfest was a touring festival organised by Sharon Osbourne often seeing Ozzy himself perform at the summit.

After ventures in the US, Japan, and even the UK (Download Festival subsequently took the heavy metal mantle from Ozzfest at Donington), Ozzy called it quits in 2017. Still, you can't rule out a revival. It is Ozzy after all.


6. Intonation Music Festival

 

Inviting Pitchfork Magazine to curate your festival seems like a stroke of genius. Well, it was for the inaugural edition of Intonation Music Festival in 2005, but the following year Pitchfork withdrew their allegiance and created their own festival, Pitchfork Music Festival.

Despite VICE curating the following edition, headliners The Streets, Diplo, and Bloc Party weren't enough to encourage promoters to continue Intonation for the third year, so they waved the white flag and surrendered in 2007.

Ultimately squeezed out by the competition in Chicago from Pitchfork Music Festival, Lollapalooza, and Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival, Intonation was one of the first casualties from festival over-saturation.


7. FYF Fest

 

Another festival that was victim to over-saturation of popular festivals in Los Angeles, FYF Fest cancelled due to poor ticket sales in 2018.

Praised for offering a platform for all-female or mixed-gendered artists, seeing Janet Jackson and Florence + The Machine headline, as well as St. Vincent, The Breeders, and The xx further down the bill, it wasn't enough to generate substantial interest from festival-goers so promoters threw in the towel.

What was supposed to be a triumphant year for FYF Fest ended in disaster, so who knows if they'll ever return?


8. Global Gathering

 

Probably the only real direct competition to Creamfields for some 13 years, Global Gathering rapidly became one of the UK's premier dance festivals, seeing Daft Punk, Fatboy Slim, Tiësto, Underworld, and Armin Van Buuren all perform for the midland's rowdiest ravers.

Extending their brand to Russia, South Korea, and even the US (which saw hard rock acts Nine Inch Nails, Avenged Sevenfold and Rob Zombie play the 2006 edition in Miami, weirdly) Global Gathering made the decision to take a break in 2014. 

Although continuing to promote club nights, the festival has remained dormant ever since.


9. All Points West Music & Arts Festival

 

Not to be confused with UK-based All Points East, All Points West Festival occurred twice back in 2008 and 2009 with Radiohead performing two headline sets within the same festival (?!) as well as big hitters Jay-Z, Tool, Jack Johnson, and Coldplay headlining the New York-based celebration of arts and music.

Torrential rain forced promoters to offer free entry for Friday ticket holders on Saturday and Sunday, as many of the artists were either rescheduled or cancelled entirely. Kind yes, but profitable, no. Considering the magnitude of these headliners, All Points West couldn't exceed these expectations so cancelled the following year. 

It's not like New York City is bereft of awesome music events though, with Governor's Ball Music Festival and Panorama NYC filling its hefty shoes.


10. All Tomorrow's Parties

 

Hugely popular within the music community as a whole, it was a sad day when All Tomorrow's Parties announced they'd no longer continue.

Citing financial issues, the ATP promotions company was put into liquidation in 2012. All planned future events were cancelled which spread from the UK to Iceland, to Australia, to the US, with an illustrious list of artists like Nick Cave, Sonic Youth, The National, Deerhunter, Portishead, Boards of Canada, and Yeah Yeah Yeah's all performing on the same lineup they curated.

Championing the intimate, fan-engaging, non-corporate nature of music festivals until its demise, All Tomorrow's Parties is fondly remembered as one of the last underground music festivals of recent times.


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