A beleaguered Lilith Tour has canceled 10 dates. Off the books of the female-fronted festival are Salt Lake City (7/12), Montreal (7/23), Raleigh (8/4), Charlotte (8/6), West Palm Beach (8/10), Tampa (8/11), Birmingham (8/12), Austin (8/14), Houston (8/15) and Dallas (8/16).
“We are in the midst of one of the most challenging summer concert seasons with many tours being cancelled outright,” says Terry McBride, who co-founded the festival with Sarah McLachlan and booking agent Marty Diamond. “Everyone involved with the tour would like to apologize to the fans and artists scheduled to play in these markets, and express appreciation for all the support for the festival’s return. Lilith remains the only tour of its kind, and we are confident that fans will be amazed by what each date has to offer.”
Although unconfirmed, rumors of cancellations began trickling down last week. Then, McBride denied the cancellations, but said they were reviewing every week. The tour started June 27 in Alberta, Canada, drawing 9,000 to its opening night.
There are several reasons why the tour is struggling. Of course, the economy is part of it, but we think there are a few others. Although the list of artists involved reads like a who’s who of estrogen, when you click on individual dates, the line-ups are very often extraordinarily light on star power. Sarah McLachlan is the only big name confirmed for every date (as well as a local contest winner: that only ensures that person’s parents attend). Lilith should have had secured four big names that would play the entire tour. Instead, Lilith organizers made a near fatal flaw when they thought the name was strong enough to lure in fans regardless of the line-up. It doesn’t work that way after 11 years away when you’re counting on fans buying tickets who don’t remember the earlier incarnation of the fest.
While I love the idea of Lilith and I truly enjoyed my experience attending the first go-round, other than a shared gender, there may not be enough in common on the line-up to entice consumers. Plus, Lilith pissed fans off royally after Lilith loyalists paid full price for tickets only to see those who waited to buy pay as little as $10. (Tickets for the Los Angeles show range from $47.50-$258. Almost $50 is way too much to pay for a lawn seat.
There’s a bigger industry issue at play here as well. After last year’s deep discounting, fans don’t want to pay full price—for anything. Lilith’s opening night in Alberta reported strong walk-ups. However, if a date is tanking, the promoter doesn’t have the luxury of waiting to see if fans will show up the last moment. We are at a pivotal moment in the touring industry. More thoughts about what’s wrong and how to fix it to come.
Below are the remaining dates for Lilith:
Thur, Jul 1 Vancouver, BC Ambleside Park
Fri, Jul 2 Portland, OR Sleep Country Amphitheater
Sat, Jul 3 Seattle, WA The Gorge Amphitheatre
Mon, Jul 5 San Francisco, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View
Wed, Jul 7 San Diego, CA Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
Fri, Jul 9 Las Vegas, NV The Beach At Mandalay Bay
Sat, Jul 10 Los Angeles, CA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Tue, Jul 13 Denver, CO Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
Thur, Jul 15 Kansas City, MO Capitol Federal Park @ Sandstone
Fri, Jul 16 St. Louis, MO Verizon Wireless Amphitheater St Louis
Sat, Jul 17 Chicago, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
**Sun, Jul 18 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
Tues, Jul 20 Indianapolis, IN Verizon Wireless Music Center
Wed, Jul 21 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sat, Jul 24 Toronto, ON Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Tues, Jul 27 Cleveland, OH Blossom Music Center
Wed, Jul 28 Philadelphia, PA Susquehanna Bank Center
Fri, Jul 30 Boston, MA Comcast Center
Sat, Jul 31 New York, NY PNC Bank Arts Center
Sun, Aug 1 Hartford, CT Comcast Theatre
**Tues, Aug 3 Washington, DC Merriweather Post Pavilion
Sun, Aug 8 Atlanta, GA Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood