By Joshua Kierns|Reporter
LouFest is quite possibly one of the largest musical festivals in the St. Louis area, or at least it would be. That is if the festival itself was not cancelled. However, let us delve deeper into the underlying business of LouFest itself, and see how these turn of events occurred.
Mike Van Hee, current managing partner of Listen Live Entertainment posted an official statement shedding light on issues that explain the cancellation of the musical gathering.
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.
“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.”
While the inability to issue refunds is quite damaging on its own, the event proved to be catastrophic for local St. Louis businesses that sponsored the event. Resulting in a large loss of revenue for companies, and thus, a loss for the city.
I reached out to a friend and film student at Webster University who interned for LouFest. Asking about her relationship she had with the Listen Live Entertainment which seemed to be a rather negative one. She stated she could not speak on the issue as she had signed a non-disclosure agreement before interning. However, when asked about the process in which LouFest chooses which bands perform at the festival. She said, “It was tough this year.”
It appears these financial issues were long-coming.
Many vendors that were scathed by the cancellation came together this past weekend to hold their own events to make up for the loss of funds. Mike Johnson, the owner of Sugarfire Smokehouse and Hi-Point Drive In, organized “Louwow”.
Vendors burned by the cancellation of LouFest were invited to set up shop at the Boathouse in Forest Park to sell their excess inventory. The party was scheduled to run from 11a.m until 11 p.m Sunday, Sept. 9.
LouFest was cancelled within a week of the occasion.