NASHVILLE (Billboard) - If market saturation is the biggest threat to the booming U.S. music festival business, that danger has been lessened somewhat by the inaugural Vineland festival’s withdrawal from the 2008 calendar.
Vineland, originally scheduled for August 8-10 in Vineland, N.J., has been moved to early summer 2009. Producers C3 Presents and Festival Republic made the change in response to the heavy festival traffic in the Northeast and major bands’ tours of the area at the same time.
“We had to get our egos in check and say, ‘Let’s do the smart decision, get off these dates and go for an isolated (date) so we can build this thing without having to look over our shoulders,”’ C3 partner Charles Attal said. “We don’t want to be compared to all the other festivals and who’s playing where. We want to build this thing right, organically from the ground up.”
Recently, Coachella producers Goldenvoice/AEG Live announced the inaugural All Points West festival for the same weekend as Vineland at Liberty State Park, just across from lower Manhattan in New Jersey, and another large Northeastern festival is also believed to be targeting August 8-10.
Agents and festival producers alike have expressed concern that saturation could harm the burgeoning festival market. Seth Hurwitz, president of I.M.P., promoter of the Virgin Festival by Virgin Mobile in Baltimore, conceded that the festival market has been “getting nuts,” and he’s “glad (C3) changed their mind, however long it took.”
C3, which also stages Lollapalooza in Chicago and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, is taking a cautious approach to rolling out the new event.
“For us to do well in the long term, the overall festival business has to do well, not just us,” C3 partner Charlie Walker said. “Going in with three festivals on the same weekend and all of us not doing as well as we could have if we weren’t all there didn’t make sense for the business. We were willing to move to a date where we could get off by ourselves, and I think there’s enough population base up there for us all to succeed in a calendar year.”
The delay will also give the producers more time to address citizens’ concerns in Vineland. “There will always be opposition to festivals. You can’t stop that,” Attal said. “But what we do in Chicago and Austin is meet with the communities, and it takes time to do that.”