20 Festivals That Cancelled in 2017: The MFW Deadpool Year End Round-Up

The crowd size at future Pemberton Music Festivals. Photo Credit: PMF.

The lifecycle of a music festival can be treacherous. From the birth of a debut fest to 40-year veterans, nobody is safe from the changing dynamics of the economy and the industry. While the infamous Fyre Festival captured the headlines, plenty of other festivals exited the scene. In our year-end wrap-up to the MFW Deadpool, we take a look at 20 festivals that called 2017 quits, why they cancelled, and if they’ll be back for more.

Pemberton Music Festival

Location: Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada
Year Started: 2014
Reason For Cancellation: Bankruptcy. As if that wasn’t enough salt for BC festies, PMF gave a final fuck-you to their fans by not refunding any tickets. “As PMF is now in bankruptcy, it has no ability to provide refunds for tickets purchased.”
Chance of a Return: Much like this festival’s bank account, we’re calling this one a 0 out of 10.

Festival on the Wall

Newcastle, UK
Year Started: N/A
Reason For Cancellation: Showcasing a startling lack of competence, Festival on the Wall sold $500 tickets to a debut festival without first securing any licenses. Dubbed “The Glastonbury of the North”, FOTW promised The Libertines, Pet Shop Boys, and a fever dream DJ Mad Max-esque stage called “The Thunderdome” complete with “gravity-defying fire breathers, high rise stunts, assorted street performers and crazy bikers.”
Chance of a Return: The odds that this festival will ever exist is the same odds that Matt Damon will receive an Oscar nod for stellar work in The Great Wall. 0 out 10.

T in the Park

Balado, Scotland
Year Started:
1994
Reason For Cancellation: Baby birds. No, seriously, baby birds brought down Scotland’s largest mega-festival.  
Chance of a Return: I haven’t met a Scottish festie yet who seems to miss T in the Park. 0 out of 10.

Karoondinha Music Festival

Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, USA
Year Started: N/A
Reason For Cancellation: Karoondinha came out of the gates strong with a mega-festival sized lineup that included Chance the Rapper, John Legend, and The Roots, but couldn’t find the ticket sales.
Chance of a Return: A debut fest stumbling out of the gates with a cancellation is usually a red flag. We may not know what Karoondinha means, but we do know that there’s a 1 out of 10 chance of seeing this festival come to life.

Together The People

Brighton, England
Year Started: 2015
Reason For Cancellation: Couldn’t get headlining artists that they “believe would do justice to the event and city of Brighton.”
Chance of a Return: The UK festival scene is highly competitive when it comes to booking talent, so no surprise they had trouble with the lineup. Organizers are calling 2017 a “rest year”, but with a festival that’s only 2 years old and a blank website, we’re only giving out a 1 out 10 chance that we will be together again.

Treausre Island

San Francisco, California, USA
Year Started: 2007
Reason For Cancellation: Treasure Island lost their home venue and has to leave the island.
Chance of a Return: The website FAQ fully answers all the questions surrounding the event so it appears to be a strong indicator of a 2018 return. Still, the Bay Area is a tricky place to to secure a venue, so we will give TIMF an 8 out of 10 chance of return.

Sound on Sound

Houston, Texas
Year Started: 2016
Reason For Cancellation: “Roadblocks.” This translates to one of the primary investors pulling out last minute for unspecified reasons.
Chance of a Return: The spiritual successor to the cancelled Fun Fun Fun Fest, Sound on Sound appeared to have a happy future in Texas, so we’re a bit surprised to see the plug pulled on it so soon. The official statement flat out says they aren’t planning on bringing back the festival for next year, so we’re flat out stating a muted 0 out of 10.

Houston Open-Air

Houston, Texas
Year Started: 2015
Reason For Cancellation: Hurricane Harvey devastated the region.
Chance of a Return: Even though the cause of the cancellation was out of organizer’s hands, the third year of a festival can be a tricky one as the festival loses the brand momentum from its initial launch. We give the return of Open Air, a cautious 7 out of 10 chance of return.

Apple Music Festival

London, England
Year Started: 2007
Reason For Cancellation: No reason provided.
Chance of a Return: Less of a music festival and more of a concert series, the Apple Music Festival (also known as the iTunes Festival in previous years), was mostly your standard corporate marketing/music synergy corporate event. It had a decade long run so we’re going to let it quietly power down with a 0 out of 10.

Mysteryland USA

Location: Bethel, New York, USA
Year Started: 2014
Reason For Cancellation: The same complex reason I gave for quitting my job as a dishwasher — “unforeseen circumstances”.
Chance of a Return: Foreign festivals trying to crack into the US market have a dismal track record. Our call is a not-at-all enigmatic 1 out of 10.

Electric Daisy Carnival UK

Location: Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Year Started: 2014
Reason For Cancellation: There’s little information other than a short statement on the official website where EDC says that “our plans to grow and improve the festival” didn’t work out.
Chance of a Return: Electric Daisy Carnival is a worldwide brand with plenty of festival power, but the UK market is saturated with electronic fests, so we’re giving this edition of EDC the same odds that Prince Harry will get married in 2019* — a  royal 4 out of 10.

*Please note The MFW Deadpool has no idea how betting odds in the real world actually work.

Vertex Festival

Buena Vista, Colorado, USA
Year Started: 2016
Reason For Cancellation: Vertex found itself fighting Footloose-style resistance from the residents of Buena Vista who want those damn kids to get off their lawn with their electronic music and their drugs and their whatnot. The first year festival produced by Madison House was looking forward to at least three more years, but all the townie bullshit pushed Vertex into cancelling the 2017 edition.
Chance of a Return: In a state blessed with scenic locales, Vertex should ditch the drive-thru town of Buena Vista for greener pastures. If they can find the right venue, we’re giving this festival an 8 out of 10 shot of a revival for 2018.

AURA Festival

Live Oak Florida, USA
Year Started: 2010
Reason For Cancellation: According to the official statement, AURA organizers, “decided that the event has far surpassed our goals and that we’re going to complete this chapter of our lives.” Ending a festival because it’s successful is a first for The MFW Deadpool, but we understand how it feels to endlessly pour your time, love, and life, into an enterprise that may ultimately just end up breaking even.
Chance of a Return: The organizers sound like this really is the end for them so we’re giving a sad trombone 0 out of 10. Thanks for six years of love AURA!

Beach Vibes Festival

Riviera Maya, Mexico
Year Started: N/A
Reason For Cancellation: Hot Chip, Run the Jewels, Carl Craig, DJ Harvey, and Holy Ghost at a winter music festival in Mexico? The LCD Soundsystem fronted Beach Vibes Festival sounded like a slam dunk on paper, but according to organizers CID Entertainment, “the event was not coming together in the way that it was envisioned.” In lieu of that extremely vague answer, we’ll just guess that they didn’t sell enough tickets.
Chance of a Return: We’ll skip the vagary and call this a concrete o out of 10.

Larmer Tree Festival

Larmer Tree Gardens, United Kingdom
Year Started: 1991
Reason For Cancellation: After 26 years of festivaling, organizers have decided that “we and the festival need to take a year off in 2017 to fully refresh both creatively and personally.”
Chance of a Return: They’re calling this is a hiatus and dates have already set for July 20-22, 2018. With such a long history, Larmer Tree warrants a 9 out of 10.

Auckland City Limits

Auckland, New Zealand
Year Started: 2016
Reason for Cancellation: Mega-festival Austin City Limits spun off an international edition last year in 2016 in festival scarce New Zealand. No reason for the 2017 cancellation, but plenty of promises for 2018.
Chance of Return:  We’ve seen these pledges before, and while ACL has deep pockets, we’re guessing this one-and-done festival only has a 2 out of 10 chance for a sequel.

Brownstock

Chelmsford, Essex, UK
Year Started:
 2005
Reason for Cancellation: According to the official statement: “Due to changes in the industry we can no longer deliver the event we set out to create and that we feel you deserve.”
Chance of Return: Independent DIY festivals like Brownstock are in for a rocky road as corporate backed ventures are filling up the marketplace. There’s going to be causalities and Brownstock won’t be the last. 0 out of 10. 

Night + Day Festival

Skógafoss, Iceland
Year Started: N/A
Reason For Cancellation:
 Venue issues. “The location for the festival at Skógafoss has recently been added to the Environment Agency of Iceland’s list of endangered areas.” 
Chance of a Return:
They’re currently one of the most popular bands in the world and seem to enjoy throwing their own festival, so we’ll say something loving and give them a 7 out of 10 chance of return.

Southern Ground Music & Food Festival

Nashville, Tennessee
Year Started:
2013
Reason For Cancellation: The Zac Brown Band, who curate the festival, are going to work on their new album instead. 
Chance of a Return: “Working on a new album” seems like a weak excuse. 2 out 10 chance of return.

Into The Factory

Stora Vika, Sweden
Year Started:
N/A
Reason For Cancellation: Couldn’t secure police approval. 
Chance of a Return: It’s not looking good for the “Into The…” series of festivals around the world. The cancellation of Into the Factory has already resulted in the 2018 cancellation of South Africa’s Into the Castle and organizers still owe artists money. 2 out 10.

Born during a sweaty, backstage, Bonnaroo downpour, the editor-in-chief's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to every great festival that this wide world has to offer. While his identity remains a mystery, you may have already met him, probably when he helped himself to your party favors.