Massive Attack won’t tour Australia after Harvest Festival cancellation

After a few days of uncertainty, Harvest Festival 2013 has officially been cancelled, along with the tour by the headline act, Bristolian trip-hop legends Massive Attack.

The news was confirmed on Twitter last night by promoter AJ Maddah. “I am very sad to confirm that Harvest 2013 is cancelled,” read the announcement. “All tickets will be 100% refunded (incl all charges) by Oztix in the next week. Will be announcing headline shows by most of the Harvest artists in the next 10 days. Those who purchased Harvest tickets will be given priority access to these headline shows. Please stay tuned for details.”

Maddah also told The Age yesterday that, despite headline shows going ahead for many of the festival’s acts, Massive Attack would not be touring. The duo of Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja and Grant ‘Daddy G’ Marshall were going to bring out Elizabeth Fraser, the singer of Teardrop from 1998’s classic Mezzanine.

The news comes less than a week after Maddah revealed a “crisis of confidence about the whole event” due to slow ticket sales and a “lack of interest” from punters. A second announcement was set to be unveiled this month, but that was put on hold after Volcano Choir’s place on the line-up was leaked which, while garnering much fanfare and media attention, didn’t equate to sales.

“We sold 33 tickets that day,” Maddah tweeted. “And that was the point where I lost all my confidence and put everything including second announcement on hold. I didn’t want Harvest to end up being one of those festivals that leaves creditors in its wake and destroys suppliers.

“As it stands, it is wiping out a lot of our life savings but at least we’ll be able to pay all of the bills. Once I signed the contracts with second announce bands, paid deposits on hotels, airfares, etc. If tix didn’t sell then it would fuck with the lives of other innocent people.”

As for Harvest’s future, Maddah told Fairfax Media last week that it’s “pretty fucking unlikely” the festival will return. “There’s always going to be knock-backs when you are trying to create something new,” he said. “It’s been a labour of love but we have a couple of great years to remember.”

The cancellation of Harvest will mitigate an expected loss of up to $5.5 million, with sales being particularly sluggish in Brisbane (18 percent of its 17,500 tickets) and Sydney (30-40 percent of 20,000). Melbourne had sold 70-80 percent of its 15,000 tickets, but not enough it appears to sustain the event.

Maddah has confirmed that sideshows will be happening for many of the key headliners, including Goldfrapp, Franz Ferdinand, Neutral Milk Hotel and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, while he said via Twitter that he’s trying to get CSS onto the Big Day Out line-up (after buying out rival promoter Ken West’s share of the Big Day Out earlier this week). Maddah said via Twitter that Harvest ticket holders would have priority for any rescheduled headline shows.

Harvest Festival debuted in 2011, traveling to Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney with a line-up that included Portishead, The National and Mercury Rev. It returned in 2012 with Sigur Ros, Beck and Grizzly Bear.

Via FasterLouder.