Index Fest Organizers Explain Why They Canceled

Future Islands were one of the big draws at Index's now-final festival in 2014.
Future Islands were one of the big draws at Index's now-final festival in 2014.
Mike Brooks

What took Index Festival so long? The indie music fest, originally scheduled to take place in September 2015, got postponed until this spring and this week officially announced its cancellation.

Officials at Spune, the company who runs Index, say they just didn't want to let it go.

"We really love that festival," says Annette Marin, the marketing director for Spune. "We put a lot of work into it." Index started in 2012, the same year as Spune's other festival franchise Untapped, and ran for three years before last year's installment was postponed.

"We tried. I tried. I didn't want to come to terms with it," Marin says. "I probably dragged it out a little longer than I should have just because it was so personal to me."

The obvious question for fans of Index, which played hosts to acts like Local Natives and Future Islands, is whether it will come back. Marin is leaving the door open, at least a crack."It's not going to happen this year and we're not going to actively pursue anything right now," she says. "But if something presents itself, we're definitely open to looking if it's the right time and right situation for us."

What ultimately sank this year's Index was logistics. "After moving the thing once, we didn't want to move it again unless there was something substantial. Nothing ever presented itself," Marin says. "We couldn't find the right venue, couldn't find the right date, and in some cases we would've been going up against our own festivals."

Spune's other festival, Untapped, grew last year by adding a San Antonio date to its events in Fort Worth, Houston and Austin. The festival also moved its flagship Dallas event to Fair Park, which nearly doubled the capacity. Index's original date in late September would've come barely six weeks before Untapped Dallas.

"[Untapped] takes the majority of our time as it is, and we felt like everything outside that always got neglected," Marin admits.

Untapped is now majority owned by Crowdsource, an event company run by The Dallas Morning News. However, Marin clarifies that the appearance of another Crowdsource event, The Reunion, which debuted last year and took place only two weeks after Index was originally scheduled, was not a critical factor in the initial decision to reschedule.

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"That didn't really have a lot to do with our decision, just because that's not our festival," Marin says. "We’re kind of removed from that for the most part. We help them market and have services we provide. Because we’re partners we help out with the festival."

Looking back, though, Marin says she might have done some things differently with Index, especially if they had gone through with this year's event. In 2014, for instance, Index expanded from two days to three.

"My suggestion for Index before we decided not to do it was just to really scale it back ," she says. "We all realized doing a separate day probably wasn't the best for the Dallas market. I think stuff like that works in Austin, but it just seemed like that day felt a little flat in terms of attendance. I don't think Sunday is as big of a festival day in DFW."

While Untapped has found itself a definite niche as a combination beer and music fest, Index might've had a harder time separating itself from the crowded field of local indie music festivals. That might make the return of Index anytime soon more unlikely than not.

"At the end of day it all comes down to money. It costs a lot to invest in these festivals, and if you're not in it for the long haul it's just not going to work — and I don't know if anybody has ever really had enough investment to make a festival like Index work [in Dallas]," Marin says. "But I feel like that's a problem more so than having too many festivals. There's just a lot of festivals that don't really have the money to really take them to the next level, like something you'd see in Austin."

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