This summer, the touring and concert industry has been plagued by poor ticket sales, cancellations due to unforseen circumstances (a la Bono) and now are suffering from security concerns -- or at least the cost of those concerns.
The HARD L.A. music festival featuring M.I.A., scheduled for July 17, and R&B/hip-hop star Drake's free Central Park concert, to be held July 16, have both been canceled this week.
The L.A. Times Blog mentioned that slow ticket sales were dampening HARD's prospects but also that increased scrutiny on safety at such public events may have been the final blow. A 15-year-girl died last month at the Electric Daisy Carnival electronica music festival at the L.A. Coliseum after a drug overdose; the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have since voted to establish a task for "rave safety."
But "this didn’t have anything to do with security issues,” said HARD L.A. promoter Gary Richards in a new article posted in the Times today. Rather that city officials forced “a lot of extra stipulations and requirements” that “resulted in unforeseen costs to the event” for the organizers.
Aside from M.I.A., acts like Die Antwoord, Flying Lotus and Sleigh Bells were also scheduled to perform. The Hard Summer Music Festival in L.A. on Aug. 7 is still scheduled to go on, as is the HARD N.Y.C. concert with M.I.A. at Governor's Island on July 24.
As for the Drake event, it was ABC that originally planned on having the singer/rapper perform for "Good Morning America" on Friday. Parks and police sources told the New York Daily News that the New York Police Department wasn't satisfied with the park's plans for safety.
This comes on the heels of a riot that started at Drake's last attempt at a free show on June 15, at Manhattan's South Street Seaport, where 25,000 fans flocked to the site and became unruly, ending with the show's cancellation and in arrests. Jay-Z canceled his secret show at the Ed Sullivan Theater in the Big Apple just days after that, after word got out about the gig and security concerns ran high.