Music, My Stories

Metal Festivals

Is the metal festival really worth it these days or should bands focus on hitting the road in smaller packages like the good old days.

Machine Head are doing an “An Evening With” tour at the moment. From all reports, it is doing great business. Dream Theater has done these kind of “Evening With” tours for a long time and the fans loved it. Our favourite acts, with no support act.

Then you have other bands going on the road with one or two openers. openers.

So why do the festivals struggle to make profits.

Ozzfest is no more.

The Metallica funded Orion festival is no more. James Hetfield went on record to say that the U.S audiences don’t respect live music anymore. Was the venue all wrong, or the acts chosen.

The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival is looking goneski as well.

Mayhem festival co-founder Kevin Lyman blamed the lack of any new “great” bands for the low ticket sales.

The Sunset Strip Music Festival, set up to celebrate the Strips place in music history is over due to poor turnouts and huge losses.

Germany’s Wacken festival also struggles to break even each year.

As the Billboard article states;

“Even though this year’s edition of Wacken Open Air sold out within 12 hours and tickets to the 2016 event are already long gone, Jensen says that the money will be used “to pay last year’s debt,” including salaries to the festival’s paid crew of 2,500. Jensen tells “We’re surviving. Every year is a challenge and this one will be hard — I don’t think we’ll lose money, but the profit will be eaten. But we have to get the best experience for the fan. If we’re not doing that, we’re not successful. It’s as simple as that.”

In Australia, the Soundwave Music Festival is always in the courts over unpaid bills. In it’s heyday, Soundwave had shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Now for 2016, the festival will only hit Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Rock on the Range 2015 took place at Mapfre Stadium Columbus, Ohio May 15-17,with a line-up of Linkin Park, Slipknot, Judas Priest, Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin, Rise Against, Marilyn Manson, Volbeat, Slash, Halestorm, Papa Roach.

The concert was sold out with 120,000 tickets sold and gross sales of $4,293,389.

Carolina Rebellion 2015 took place at Rock City Campgrounds, Charlotte Motor Speedway Concord, N.C. May 2-3 with a line-up of Slipknot, KoRn, Godsmack, Slayer, Sammy Hagar, Breaking Benjamin, Marilyn Manson, Rise Against, Slash, Chevelle, Cheap Trick, Papa Roach, Halestorm.

The concert was sold out with 80,000 tickets sold and gross sales of $3,438,222.

Rocklahoma 2015 took place at Festival Grounds Pryor, Okla. May 22-24 with a line-up of Linkin Park, Godsmack, Slayer, Tesla, Breaking Benjamin, Volbeat, Queensryche, Halestorm, Papa Roach.

The concert sold 60,000 tickets from the 72,000 on offer and gross sales of $2,263,820.

Rockfest 2015 took place at Liberty Memorial Park Kansas City, Mo. May 30 with a line-up of Rob Zombie, Volbeat, Halestorm, Tech N9ne, Papa Roach, Anthrax, In This Moment, All That Remains.

The concert was sold out with 50,000 tickets sold and gross sales of $1,700,645.

Northern Invasion 2015 took place at Somerset Amphitheatre Somerset, Wis. May 9 with a line-up of Slipknot, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Three Days Grace.

The concert was sold out with 25,000 tickets sold and gross sales of $1,272,284.

In total, the five festival shows mentioned above grossed $12,968,360 in ticket sales alone.

But somehow, festivals are not making money. But let me tell you one thing, festivals are making a lot of money for a lot of people. This is the great disconnect in music where the majority of the money made from bands goes to middlemen.

There is a post over at VH1 written by Doc Coyle from God Forbid. Must say I am a fan of his blog posts.

In the post Coyle, discusses the future for American Metal festivals. It’s a great read, so check it out.

Our opinions are the same when it comes to stand alone festivals in a city being more of a success than a touring festival.

But the disconnect still exists with the money jar. In the immortal words of Bon Scott,

Gettin’ ripped off, Underpaid…. 
That’s how it goes, Playin’ in a band