It’s the end of a brief era in Scotland, as the Electric Fields has been canceled barely a month before the fifth year of the festival was due to kick off. The news follows controversy over a change of venue, which some prospective festival-goers had already warned was likely to kill the mood. The move from the festival’s original venue at Drumlanrig Castle, which is in Dumfries and Galloway, to Finnieston’s SWG3 had prompted a rush of refund requests, and it now seems like the festival is no longer financially viable.
Rumors about the potential cancellation of the festival had been circulating online since Monday 2nd June, with potential attendees reporting that they were being told the big gig was off when they attempted to buy tickets, but it wasn’t until Wednesday that the event organizers confirmed that Electric Fields wouldn’t be going ahead this year, or ever again. They spoke of being faced with challenges that were impossible to overcome, and also confirmed that Electric Fields would immediately cease trading as a company.
The news will come as a disappointment to those who were happy to travel to Glasgow, and also to those within Glasgow who were excited about the idea of having an increasingly large festival on their doorstep. From its inception as a small festival which mostly catered for a small audience of the organizers and their immediate friends and family, numbering around one hundred people in total for the first event, the festival had grown exponentially in size each year. Last year, eight thousand people gathered to watch headline act Noel Gallagher perform on Friday night.
This year’s festival was scheduled to be headlined by Metronomy on the opening night, The Vaccines on Friday night, and then Frank Turner on the Saturday. Friendly Fires, Sleaford Mods, The Futureheads and Nadine Shah had also been confirmed as performing, and will now presumably be looking for an alternative major booking for their summer festival schedule at short notice. As well as hitting musicians in the pocket, there will also likely be a detrimental effect on the local economy. Electric Fields is believed to have made almost £1.5m for the Dumfries and Galloway area during last year’s festival, and so a similar – if not more significant – sum of money could have been expected to wash into Glasgow this July.
The reasons for the switch of venue were never clear from the moment the change was announced. Organizers initially blamed transport and logistics issues for the need to change, but there were no significant issues with transport in or out of the area for the festival last year. After some debate whether those who had already bought tickets would even be eligible for refunds, it was eventually decided that anyone who wanted to cancel because of the change of venue would receive a refund within 28 working days. Organizers had hoped that the number of people seeking a refund would be no more than eighty, but based on the cancellation announcement it seems likely that this wasn’t the case.
Among the criticisms of the move to Glasgow was the idea that the city already has enough summer festivals, with both Summer Sessions and the T In The Park replacement TRNSMT going ahead as usual this year. Electric Fields would likely have become the smaller of the three Glasgow festivals, and may have struggled to attract as many paying customers as a result.
The cancellation of the festival is just the latest in a number of issues suffered by smaller festivals over the past couple of years in the UK. Y Not Festival has done well to make a comeback after suffering the embarrassment of being canceled halfway through due to weather issues during 2017, and Liverpool’s Hope and Glory Festival was also canceled on its second day due to staffing, crowding, and security problems. All of this goes to show that running a festival is not the easy route to making money that some organizers appear to believe it is. While they might believe that they’re following the same strategy that would work well at an online casino or All Sister Sites – by which we mean they’re spending a little money, rubbing their hands, and waiting for the jackpot payout to come their way when it’s all over – what they’re actually finding is that sometimes, you walk away from the casino as a loser. The organizers of large festivals like Leeds, Reading, Glastonbury, and Download, know when to hold’ em and know when to fold ’em. It would appear that some of the newer would-be festival gurus don’t.
There hasn’t been any further update posted by the festival organizers since the statement concerning the cancellation on their social media pages. If you did have a ticket, and were planning to attend the festival, you’re advised to contact the company or booking agent you bought the ticket from for a refund. If your ticket came directly from the organizers, a telephone number for refund requests has also been provided, which is 0161 813 2222.
If the news hasn’t dampened your enthusiasm to go and check out a festival this summer – and we really hope that it hasn’t – then you might want to check out this list of festivals happening this month and see if anything takes your fancy. If not, don’t despair, there’s still plenty of summer to come, and lots of gigs and festivals still selling tickets! As we mentioned earlier, TRNSMT is still happening in the Glasgow area, and features a Friday night headlines set by Stormzy, who will be fresh from his Glastonbury appearance. Example, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Richard Ashcroft, Bastille, George Ezra, Snow Patrol and many more are also listed as being in attendance, and we have confidence that the festival won’t be called off at the last second.
Stay tuned to our website for all the information you need regarding any future festival changes, along with all the other big news and reviews happening within the world of music.
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