After much speculation and shit-slinging this week, it’s official – Soundwave Festival is cancelled.
Promoted AJ Maddah has been fending off the rumours all week after 2016 drawcards Bring Me The Horizon said they weren’t officially locked in for the festival, despite being on the announced lineup.
Since then, L7 officially announced they wouldn’t be appearing, NOFX‘s Eric Melvin said, “Soundwave cancelling sw16 isn’t going to stop me from seeing my Australian mates at Xmas,” and at least two of the venues the festival was due to play at confirmed to local media the dates announced for each show had not been booked for the event.
Maddah himself added fuel to the fire when he announced Soundwave would not be happening in 2017.
“It’s a lot of hard work, stress & risk in return for which we get hate & stupidity #OverIt,” he said on Twitter.
He’s also giving Soundwave Touring away, replying to a fan’s tweet today saying he’s, “flat broke and physically and spiritually crushed. Hopefully others will pick it up & run with it.”
Yesterday, he implied the fate of the festival’s 2016 tour lay in the hands of “some scumbags at Eventopia/Ticketek,” after which Eventopia released a statement directing all enquiries to Maddah.
Today, he said, “Refunds from point of purchase. It may take a little time be patient an wait fro contact from Eventopia.”
Maddah cited poor ticket sales for the cancellation of the festival, along with failing to give the company a scheduled advance to pay the deposits for NOFX and Bring Me The Horizon.
Whilst it’s a disappointment to Aussie music fans to see another festival canned, it’s little surprise.
Documents obtained from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) from a meeting of Soundwave creditors in October detail the money still owed to bands from this year’s tour.
The figures run from $5,720.60 owed to Melbourne band Ne Obliviscaris to $2,132,075 owed to headliners Soundgarden.
The full list of outstanding debts (in $AUD):
All Time Low — $141,144.70
Animals as Leaders — $16,607.14
Antemasque — $138,721.43
Apocalyptica — $65,601.90
Area-7 — $7,594.20
Atreyu — $52,044.64
Coldrain — $16,270.50
Crossfaith — $25,431.55
Deathstars — $17,500.00
Dragonforce — $21,000.00
Emily’s Army — $19,185.29
Escape the Fate — $21,985.68
Faith No More — $751,076.20
Falling In Reverse — $54,064.98
Fall Out Boy — $394,107.14
Fear Factory — $78,263.96
Fucked Up — $24,779.40
Gerard Way — $89,510.75
Godflesh — $33,314.00
Godsmack — $200,000.00
Hollywood Undead — $65,183.54
Incubus — $571,428.58
Judas Priest — $349,560.55
Killer Be Killed — $24,513.00
Lagwagon — $30,274.52
Lamb of God — $161,323.33
Live Nation Worldwide, Inc — $1,180,325.56
Lower Than Atlantis — $18,800.06
Marilyn Manson — $588,000.56
Millencolin — $91,874.50
Ministry — $203,952.01
Monuments — $19,153.00
Ne Obliviscaris — $5,720.60
New Found Glory — $43,279.88
Nonpoint — $8,137.54
Nothing More — $35,000.00
Of Mice and Men — $29,040.00
Papa Roach — $93,050.93
Patent Pending — $22,000.00
Slash — $484,628.00
Sleepwave — $17,470.35
Slipknot — $1,645,299.29
Soundgarden — $2,132,075.00
Steel Panther — $92,517.57
The Aquabats — $32,787.26
The Color Morale — $11,464.58
The Interrupters — $20,231.14
The Raglans — $11,059.82
The Smashing Pumpkins — $1,267,446.43
The Swellers — $21,412.24
The Treatment — $8,193.74
The Vandals — $57,142.86
Tonight Alive — $38,500.00
Twin Atlantic — $20,154.85
There’s no word yet on how, when, or if, these debts will be paid out.
Indeed, it seems Soundwave’s (and Maddah’s) success ultimately created their demise.
After SW13, the promoter’s company raked in $62 million in gross revenue, $14 million net profit – so Maddah chose to expand.
He bought BHSS Pty Ltd (formerly Billy Hyde Staging Systems), launched Harvest Festival, and bought into the Warped tour and Big Day Out (which was notably absent from this year’s and next year’s touring schedules).
He then lost $30 million on the ventures, or around $800,000 per month.
While this was happening, the company behind the staging for SW15, World Stages Pty Ltd, publicly took Maddah to court seeking restitution for unpaid debts.
Despite making several calculated legal manoeuvres, including changing the name of the festival’s former operating company – twice – the company went into voluntary administration, and Maddah entered into a Deed of Company Arrangement with his various creditors.
Herein lies the complicated part – the deal, which included a whole bunch of Maddah’s companies, including Hounds of Hell Pty Ltd, BHSS Pty Ltd, 3wise Pty Ltd, Madjo Enterprises Pty Ltd and Sonic Travel Pty Ltd – meant that Maddah would only pay back a quarter ($4.32 million) of the $16 million owed.
That’s if SW16 went ahead.
The contract specified that $600,000 would be raised by selling off BHSS Pty Ltd (less than Maddah paid for the company) and 50% of the net profits of SW16 would go to creditors in order to cover the rest.
With the cancellation announced today, creditors will now see only three cents in the dollar return following the sale of BHSS Pty Ltd, instead of the originally agreed 25 cents in the dollar.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a festival canned citing poor ticket sales, and it certainly won’t be the last.
In fact, Groovin The Moo reportedly approached Federal MP Ewen Jones in Townsville recently, asking for a $300,000 cash injection to continue the festival’s only Queensland event after apparently losing money the past three years.
So far, the event is set to continue.
Is the poor performance of the Aussie dollar affecting our music (and festival) scene? Do we have any hope of seeing festivals as epic as Download or Glastonbury or Lollapalooza on our shores?
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