Not even a couple of virtual performances from Eazy-E and ODB could save this year’s Rock the Bells tour.
The annual hip-hop festival recently played the Los Angeles area to mixed reviews (some quality music, but less so of a festival experience, said our reviewer, Gerrick Kennedy). And now the organizers have announced the cancellation of planned dates in New York and Washington, D.C..
The cause? Even organizers Guerilla Union will admit it -- low ticket sales.
Rock the Bells founder Chang Weisberg said in a statement announcing the cancellation:
“First and foremost, it is with great sadness and disappointment that we must cancel the Washington, DC and New York City Rock the Bells dates due to lack of ticket sales. I, along with our staff, the artists, and all of the sponsors, media partners, local promoters, and radio stations involved are thankful for our supporters and the fans that planned on attending. It’s extremely unfortunate that we can’t complete the last half of the 10th Anniversary Rock the Bells tour. We did everything in our power to save the show. Unfortunately, the financial loss would have been devastating. This festival has been ten years in the making. I am truly sorry we could not produce the show for all the fans who did buy their ticket in support of.”
Though the festival’s 10th anniversary bill seemed compelling -- headlining sets from Kendrick Lamar’s Black Hippy crew, New York kings A$AP Mob and radio smash J. Cole alongside the “hologram"-deploying Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Wu-Tang Clan -- East Coast fans apparently disagreed.
Weisberg told Radio.com’s Scott T. Sterling that upcoming tours from Jay-Z, Kanye West and Lamar might have softened demand.
Rock the Bells has always been a labor of love to attend -- especially this year, with brutal heat and underserved festival amenities. It appears that East Coast fans won’t have to worry about all that after all.