The Death of Music Festivals as We Know It Could Be Closer Than You Think

Kickoff Jam was just canceled, and it’s not the only festival in recent months to get the boot. Lucidity Fest, Sudden Little Frills Fest, Moonrise Festival, Lollapalooza Paris, Lovers & Friends Fest, and Firefly Music Festival are just a few festivals that have already been canceled this year. 

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Tons of reasons have been given, from poor weather to poor ticket sales to questionable planning. It’s odd, considering how huge music festivals have been in the past. They seemed to bounce back pretty fast after 2020, so what gives? Is the death of music festivals near?


There are a few different reasons why music festivals are being canceled left and right. The biggest reason, this writer thinks, comes down to money.

Tickets to most of these festivals come at a major cost. Between inflation and an employment crisis, not many people are interested in spending more money on music festivals than ever before. And it’s not just a US issue, either. Splendour In The Grass Fest in Australia didn’t sell out as quickly as usual last year due to “delayed” purchase commitments. 

Suwannee River Jam was canceled this year after 30 years in action due to high talent costs and inflation. NASS Festival 2024 was canceled before 2024 even hit because of “sky-high” operating fees. Clearly, money has become a problem for both festivalgoers and festival organizers.

Just as well, the cost of venues and insurance is at an all-time high for organizers. And with extreme weather plaguing so many places globally, those costs are only going to increase in time, particularly for outdoor festivals. Ultra Music Festival was one of many fests that were canned this year due to extreme lightning and winds. 

What Does the Future of Music Festivals Look Like?

Honestly, we may just see a resurgence of smaller concerts and mini-festivals in the near future. Many small venues and events have been pushed aside in the last few decades in the wake of massive arena concerts and huge outdoor music festivals.

If festival runners are struggling to launch their music festivals and fans are struggling to afford upwards of $1,000-$4,000 a ticket to get through the doors, we may see a radical change in how people enjoy live music very soon.

The death of music festivals likely won’t come anytime super soon. But, they may start dying down in favor of smaller, more intimate events in the coming years. 

Photo by Jason Kempin

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