Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Prog Festivals Come and Go

February 2nd, 2012

Progressive rock festivals here in the States have been having a rough time lately. Last year’s NEARfest was cancelled due to lack of interest. While the sluggish economy was no doubt part of the problem, organizers laid the blame squarely on the fact that concert goers were simply not interested in a festival line-up that didn’t offer a healthy dose of big name acts.

Looking to end NEARfest’s reign on a high note, NEARfest Apocalypse was organized for this summer. With lots of veteran proggers on the bill, it is sure to do well.

OhioProg 2012 was announced last year with organizers attempting to leverage the power of the Internet by initiating a Kickstarter campaign to fund it. Unfortunately this attempt at crowdfunding failed and the festival has been cancelled:

OhioProg 2012 turned to crowd funding platform to make tickets available for the 3-day progressive rock festival in an attempt to ensure enough people would attend to cover the costs and expenses of holding such a grand event. The Kickstarter campaign ended on January 2, 2012 with only 60 tickets pledged. A total of around 400-450 tickets pledged at the various levels would have reached the funding goal.

I haven’t heard any specific reasons cited for the low number of tickets sold. FM, Arena, and Glass Hammer are all fairly big names in prog but there were no tier 1 70s vets on the bill. Plus there was competition for fans’ money with the NEARfest blow out and the Rite of Spring Festival, the latter of which features an appearance by IQ. One thing to notice is how all of these festivals are more or less in the same part of the country – the northeastern part. That area is perhaps just saturated and unable to support that many prog festivals. Lots of people travel long distances to attend them but airfare/hotel for more than one of them adds up quickly.

Joining the fray is Greg Walker, proprietor of Syn-Phonic Music, a prog CD retailer. He has organized FarFest for this October in Wilmington, Delaware. It’s a four-day affair and will feature:

Alphataurus (Italy)
Anekdoten (Sweden)
Atoll (France)
Cressida (United Kingdom)
Latte E Miele (Italy)
Locanda Delle Fate (Italy)
Maxophone (Italy)
Pulsar (France)
SBB (Poland)
Shylock (France)
Wobbler (Norway)
+ 2 more 70?s bands

The emphasis here is bands from the 1970s, although Anekdoten is a wonderful exception and it’s great to see groups from so many non-English speaking countries. I can understand the desire to have the festival in Wilmington since you have Philadelphia, New York, and Washington D.C. is fairly close proximity and Boston isn’t that far either. But, again, can the northeast and fans willing & able to travel long distances support a third prog fest?

Time will tell whether FarFest generates enough interest to actually go ahead and, if it does get pulled off, whether the fest does well enough to warrant a second edition.

Related posts:

  1. Prog Rock Festivals
  2. Romantic Warriors – A New Prog Rock Documentary
  3. NEARfest to Return in 2012
  4. Prog Festival Gets Own Brew
  5. PROG @ The Overture Center

One Response to “Prog Festivals Come and Go”

  1. Me says:

    Progday in North Carolina will happen over Labor Day

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