They were still sending out tweets and press releases as of Monday touting their lineup and relatively affordable tickets, but as of mid-day Wednesday the organizers of Soundtown at Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, Wis., have announced the cancellation of their July 27-28 music fest. Full refund info will be issued soon on the festival’s website.
“We just didn’t hit the [ticket sales] threshold that we needed to,” said Somerset Amphitheater owner Matt Mithun, who debuted Soundtown last summer as the flagship event for his newly expanded, renovated, multi-million dollar event and camping grounds (formerly known Float-Rite Amphitheater).
Last year’s Flaming Lips-led Soundtown only drew about 2,500 the first day and 5,000 the second. Mithun acted unfazed, though, and came back with a fuller and better lineup this year, including Jane’s Addiction, Weezer, Florence + the Machine, Girl Talk, Andrew Bird, Dr. Dog, Best Coast, Mayer Hawthorne and Doomtree. However, in the interim, Live Nation announced its own competing, grander-scale festival for this summer (last month’s successful River’s Edge Fest), and the usual summer music bashes continued to draw heavily (Rock the Garden, Basilica Block Party, Soundset). Soundtown had a lot of stiff competition, in other words.
“That was probably the biggest thing: all the other good shows out there this year,” Mithun said.
Rumors of the cancellations started slipping out Tuesday, as agents for some of the bands started calling venues in town looking for dates. The first to land elsewhere: The great Austin, Texas, band White Denim at the 400 Bar on July 28. Word is First Avenue is also weighing booking options with some of the Soundtown bands for that weekend. Stay tuned for updates.
***UPDATE: First Ave just announced a show at the Cedar Cultural Center on July 28 with three of the groups: Best Coast, Jeff the Brotherhood and Those Darlins. Should be a blast. Tickets ($17, all ages) went on sale immediately.
You can probably bet headliners Jane’s Addiction won't plan an alternate date – and in fact, they may avoid our market altogether from now on considering the trouble suffered when they played the Brick’s opening concert in March. It sure is tough being a Jane's fan in the Twin Cities these days.
Clearly disappointed and scrambling to handle the cancellation details, Mithun said it was “too early to tell” whether or not he will try again on Soundtown. Cancelling on such short notice certainly could be a big deterrent to booking acts in the future. Still, Mithun’s amphitheater is playing host to events brought in by other promoters this summer, including: The Aug. 11 triple bill with My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses and Trampled by Turtles, the metallic Aug. 18 Knotfest with Slipknot and the Aug. 24-26 mish-mash dance fest Summer Set.
Said Mithun, “We’re very happy with our overall lineup of events this year, and I think there is plenty of reason to still be excited about this venue.”