LouFest canceled with 3-day notice
The 2018 LouFest music festival was cancelled three days before its intended starting date, the organizers announced Wednesday morning.
Managing Partner Mike Van Hee of Listen Live Entertainment, an organizer of the festival, posted a letter to the event’s website early that morning detailing the reasons for the cancellation. The letter cited financial issues (including the loss of two sponsors and debt from previous events), “unfortunately timed” media coverage that led to vendors and artists demanding up-front payment, scheduling and contract issues with major artists and inclement weather as reasons for the cancellation.
“We are sad to announce that LouFest 2018 has been cancelled,” Van Hee wrote in the letter. “We know this is a great disappointment to many.”
LouFest currently does not have enough money to issue refunds for pre-sale tickets; however, Front Gate Tickets, the ticket vendor partnered with the festival, will be issuing refunds while the festival pays off its debt.
Junior Dylan Keifer, who was planning on going to the festival, believes that the cancellation was not only upsetting for fans but also was handled poorly.
“I think the way that they handled the cancellation was really insensitive,” Kiefer said. “I think they kind of tried to focus on how great the festival has been in the past in their cancellation letter, but I feel like they were basically blaming a lot of external forces for the cancellation when it’s really all on the people who were scheduling.”
Due to the short notice, food and merchandise vendors have been left with an excess of already purchased products. A Facebook event was organized in support of LouFest vendors Saturday, Sept. 8 at 1:00 p.m.
“Tons of local vendors will have excess food, drinks, special edition cans and beers, merch, etc. Let’s get out there and support the local businesses that were invested in making the festival awesome for all of us!” reads the description for the Facebook event.
Some vendors have already begun to plan events in the absence of LouFest. One such vendor is Evangeline’s, a bistro and music house located on Euclid Avenue. According to bar manager Drew Drake, they will be hosting a music night on Saturday, Sept. 8 in conjunction with the Support LouFest Vendors event.
“We are currently in the works of planning our own local music party on Saturday night as a way for people to get out and still see some live music despite the absence of LouFest,” Drake said. “I’m still working with [the] owner to hash out the specific details of what we are doing, but we are working on getting some artists in here onstage and just having a big get together and party for everybody.”
Music at Evangeline’s will start at 7:00 p.m. and the stage will be opened to local St. Louis artists around 9:00 p.m. with music until around 1:00 a.m. They will be serving New Orleans-style street food that they were originally planning to provide at LouFest all night.
Washington University junior Evan Hughes (stage name evan) was scheduled to perform this weekend at the festival and is now among the artists who will no longer have that opportunity.
“Obviously, I’m very disappointed that the festival is cancelled; it was something I was really looking forward to. I was looking forward to sharing my music with the Wash. U. and St. Louis community [on] a scale I hadn’t been able to before,” Hughes said. “But at the same time, I also know that sometimes you hit roadblocks and that’s kind of the way the industry goes. I’m just ready to get back up on the saddle and conquer whatever task comes next.”
Additional reporting by Danielle Drake-Flam and Kathleen White