by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Word spread via the social media yesterday afternoon that the Kanrocksas festival — which was supposed to be celebrating a return after taking a year off — has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
Festival acts were to include Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Avett Brothers, Kendrick Lamar, Passion Pit and MGMT, among others. According to this Kansas City Star story, the fest drew 50k attendees in 2011 — with Flaming Lips as one of its key headliners — but still managed to lose “significant money” (I’ve heard in excess of $1 million). This year they decided to take a “Moneyball” approach. “We felt like we could buy four to five great bands for the price of one,” said festival organizer Bill Brandmeyer. “It was like a small-market philosophy to get the most of our money and offer something special.” Tix were priced at $99 one-day, $175 two-day.
That price point for a collection of mid-tier acts seemed rather steep, until you consider that Cheap Trick at Stir last weekend was fifty freakin’ bucks. Last night’s Bloc Party show was $25, and I have a feeling you can expect to pay at least that much for quality mid-tier acts (i.e., those that could draw Slowdown big-room or TWR crowds) moving forward.
So is Kanrocksas’ failure a reflection of the weakening interest in indie music? Maybe, but consider how massive festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza sold out almost immediately (though there are still plenty of tickets available to Pitchfork Fest), and how quickly Maha moved its pre-sale tix. Kanrocksas’ fatal error may have been in that Moneyball strategy. They needed at one one huge act each night.
That said, I’m not convinced interest in indie isn’t waning with this Spotify generation that expects to get everything indie for free or at reduced prices. There are fewer touring indie shows coming through town these days, which may reflect apprehension by a certain local promoter to take high-dollar chances in a market that doesn’t even have a radio station that regular airs indie music.
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That said, Phoenix just got booked to play at the Music Hall Aug. 6, and guess who’s opening for them? None other than local electronic dance rock heroes Icky Blossoms. Tix go on sale Friday via Ticketmaster.
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Couple shows going on tonight…
At fabulous O’Leaver’s McCarthy Trenching headlines a show with NC band JKutchma & the Five Fifths, and Brad Hoshaw. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Gordon (who seems like they’re playing gigs twice a week these days) is headlining at The Waiting Room tonight with Red Lion and Timecat. If you haven’t checked out Gordon, this may be the perfect chance as this one is FREE. Starts at 9.
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
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