Just three days prior to the event, Loufest has announced that this year’s event has been canceled. This year’s edition of the city’s preeminent music festival has been controversial from the start, when the long-delayed lineup (headlined by Robert Plant and Modest Mouse) was announced to an overwhelmingly underwhelmed reaction from concertgoers. A third headliner alluded to in multiple social media posts never materialized, and recently Lukas Nelson has to back out due to his commitments to the film A Star Is Born. A recent report from KWMU announced several contractors backing out of this year’s fest over nonpayment from last year. Loufest’s announcement alludes to this report—and this weekend’s iffy weather forecast thanks to Tropical Storm Gordon—as the primary motives behind the cancelation.
See below for the complete statement from Loufest organizers. | Jason Green
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