Here’s a shocker: Throwing a music festival isn’t easy. Throwing a music festival when you have a year to plan isn’t easy. It would surely be a joke, then, for someone to toss out the idea of a “pop-up festival” that would go from announcement to execution in just five weeks, but it’s 2017, the year of the Fyre Festival, so here we are.
Earlier this month, David Taylor announced Starfest, a 60-band, two-day, two-stage bill that would take place September 8th and 9th in Plano, TX and accommodate roughly 20,000 people. Lil Wayne and Flo Rida were among the first acts announced, with artists like Hunter Hayes and DJ Carnage also added. Since then, some of these artists have been removed from the lineup while others (like Machine Gun Kelly) have been added. Regardless, just a few weeks from the festival’s launch date the number of confirmed acts was nowhere near 60.
Also causing controversy was the festival’s astronomic ticket prices. A single-day pass was going for $225, which Guidelive points out is roughly the same cost as a three-day pass to Austin City Limits. VIP passes, meanwhile, were selling for $1,250. Those prices have since been lowered.
Of course, the festival has been dealing with plenty of other issues. For one, its initial location in Plano fell through when the city itself cut ties with the festival, saying it had broken their agreement. Then, the festival found a new home at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. Then, less than a week later, the festival found itself homeless again.
A statement on the festival’s website reads:
While we were pleased to announce that Lone Star Park in Grand Prarie (sic) would be able to accommodate us for the festival, the management informed us on Monday morning that the facility was previously booked for an outside event on their parking lots that would take up 80% of usable parking for our guests. The team at Lone Star Park has been diligently working with us directly to help facilitate us with other dates in one capacity or another. This unfortunately may cause us to push back our event or move locations. More details to follow, but this Cinderella Story is not over yet! Stay tuned…
Its problems go deeper than just finding the right location, however. Starfest is currently being sued by Simon Perez, who was hired to be a booker for the festival but claims Starfest “went behind his back to sign musicians on its own” to avoid triggering his 15% commission. Perez claims to have signed Deadmau5 in a $500,000 deal that would’ve netted him a $75,000 commission.
Furthermore, the whole thing just reeks of unprofessionalism. The festival’s website was made on Wix. Its Facebook and Twitter accounts are sparse and contradictory. When interviewed by NBC 5 about the festival, Taylor’s response to questions about the unannounced acts was a vague, “Just know, they’re fantastic.” And not only is the festival’s name like something out of a children’s cartoon, but it’s marketing language is laughably banal—”Starfest is dedicated to presenting a world—class (sic) celebration of the musical arts by creating timeless and adventurous productions (sic) that stimulate arts education and foster economic growth,” reads its Facebook profile. How exactly it will do these things goes unexplained.
Chances of this thing actually happening are slim to none at this point, but it might be wise to skip it and hit up the East Side bar in Denton, where the owners are throwing a party to revel in its hubris.
Remember, guys: Music festivals are hard.