Now has never felt like a better time to write this article. I have been wanting to put this one out for a while, but in hindsight I am glad something always got in my way somehow because it has never been so relevant for myself and for thousands of others out there who are being faced with music festival cancellations.
Over the years I have seen music festivals get shut down by governments or local authorities, cancelled abruptly because of malpractice concerns or poor ticket sales. But I have never witnessed so many event organisers being faced with the crushing reality of having to withdraw or postpone their festival plans in the midst of a global pandemic. This is having a pretty catastrophic effect on the industry all over the world as well as on the hundreds of thousands of revellers who have been planning their trips and adventures to all these exciting festivities. I wanted to share with you my advice on how to deal with abrupt festival cancellations and how to make the most out of those situations, both during this global pandemic and otherwise.
In the face of festival cancellations, support your local music scene!
Not attending that music festival this weekend after all? Then it’s time to jump right back into your local music scene. A festival cancellation naturally gives you back a whole weekend of free time. Rather than feel upset by it, plan something just as epic in its place. Sure, that local artist playing at your local club may not feel as thrilling as that big headliner you were going to see but do you know what, that headliner used to be a local artist back in the day too. My advice is to reconnect with friends you haven’t seen for a while, rediscover old venues and show your support for all your resident acts. Time to dig up those Resident Advisor and TimeOut URLs…
Contribute to your festival community
One of the best ways to mourn a music festival is to do it with all the people who are suffering from the same loss. Join the festival’s social media communities, express your emotions and share your past memories with everyone. Send videos and pictures, rejoice and unite with others in what could have been. Festivals act as an epicentre for people to come together, to create, to feel and to transform. Don’t let a festival cancellation stop you from doing that, reach out to the right communities and create bonds with people going through the same thing. Remember that in these situations we are all feeling equally discouraged, being able to reciprocate that and being part of a group of like-minded people takes the weight off all the emotions we may be enduring.
Go explore beyond the festival
I think we can all agree that music festivals take us to all sorts of wonderfully unique locations. So why not give that destination a chance despite a festival cancellation? I have found myself on the way to a festival site to be told just hours before gates were meant to be opening that the event was not happening… but that didn’t stop me! Instead of feeling miserable, I went exploring and took it as a sign that I was meant to discover the nearest town and its vicinity. You have the power to create what you want out of every situation that is put in front of you. I turned that weekend into a travel opportunity and got to see a new place I hadn’t visited before despite having attended that festival in previous years!
Look past these festival cancellations to the future
One of the most important message I have taken from all my experiences of dealing with a festival cancellation is that I must not let it put me down. Sure, it is disappointing, and it can have us feeling a little disjointed emotionally but when it is beyond our control the best thing to do is just let go and look forward. Don’t look to blame anyone, particularly not the event organiser or promoters. These guys spend every waking hour trying to put something unforgettable together, when their festival is cancelled all of a sudden they are losing months of hard work. Sure, it put us on edge, but just imagine how they might be feeling. The best thing to do is to think of what is ahead and to stay positive, there will be plenty more music festivals to come! Take a look at some of my festival travel guides, don’t let yourself feel discouraged and bask in potential future plans.
Create a movement
In the spirit of keeping your head held high, inspire others to follow in your optimism by supporting the festival community and hosting your own event or supporting those who do. One of the best things I have experienced in recent years was seeing how a team of festival organisers and its attendees came together to fix a broken festival. They didn’t let this unexpected cancellation affect them, they set out to spread the acts and artists across venues in the town rather than on the festival site. They rolled out a series of events and we basically took over the city that weekend! Seeing how people supported and came together despite the bad news shows how powerful these events are. They are created to share and spread happiness, which can still be achieved in smaller scale initiatives.
In light of all the recent news and festival cancellations, let’s all be supportive and understanding in the ways that we can. Sit tight, be safe and compassionate. How would you turn a bad situation around if it imposed itself? Drop a comment below and share your thoughts!