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HullabaLOU Music Festival becomes victim of economy

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    Festivals are like Jeebs’ head from Men In Black these days; one gets cut down, a new one pops up. Well, after Harvest for Hope and the fiasco known as Imagine Concert got their respective axes, it seems there’s even more space for new heads, as word comes that Louisville, KY’s HullabaLOU Music Festival will not return in 2011.

    Though ending up five million dollars in the red and 22,000 under predicted attendance, festival organizers Churchill Downs Inc. had initially planned to retool the event for a return next year. Now it appears the heat has finally gotten to them, as future plans have been postponed until the struggling economic situation and the live-music business improve. Says Churchill President and CEO Robert L. Evans in a press release,

    It has become clear that launching new, upscale events in the current economy, particularly with the persistently high levels of unemployment, is extremely difficult. While we received exceptionally high marks from the nearly 80,000 people who attended our [Churchill Downs Entertainment] events, we fell short of the attendance levels necessary to operate these events profitably.”

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    CDE, the group within Churchill Downs Inc. which set up the concert, was also disbanded in the release. So, despite a bizarrely intriguing lineup of cross-genre and generational legends including Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, and Dave Matthews Band, and a fairly (if not financially) successful first year, it looks like we’ll have to bury this one for now. One has to wonder if needing 100,000 festival goers to make your inaugural staging financially viable may have been aiming a little high. Further, what can we expect from the other first-time fests of the year, such as Maine’s Nateva and and Chicago’s North Coast? Here’s hoping these aren’t set to be the next victims of this nasty economic downturn.

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