After Sound on Sound lost a major investor, talent buyer Graham Williams was forced to pull the plug on the second year of the Austin music festival just five weeks before 73 acts were scheduled to descend upon the Sherwood Forest.
“We are extremely saddened to announce today that Sound On Sound Fest 2017 is being cancelled,” read a Friday press release sent by festival organizers. “This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. Due to several recent roadblocks outside of our control and in effort to do right by our fans, the decision to cancel was our only real option.”
Williams, who was a co-founder of Austin's defunct Fun Fun Fun Fest and co-owns promotions company Margin Walker, told the Austin Chronicle that an unnamed investor had dropped out, causing the whole festival to collapse. He also said that Sound on Sound is unlikely to return in the future.
“It’s hard to come back from getting knocked down, especially with a new festival brand like Sound on Sound,” he told the Chronicle.
Sound on Sound's organizers and publicist declined to comment to the Observer about the investor's reasons for pulling out.
The festival was scheduled to include headlining performances by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who went on hiatus in 2013, and Grizzly Bear in its only Texas performance this year. Late soul singer Charles Bradley, who died last month after a battle with stomach cancer, also had been on the lineup for the festival Nov. 10-12.
The festival's cancellation affects several Dallas artists who were scheduled to perform, including Power Trip, Snow Tha Product, DJ Sam Lao and All/Everything DJ John Stewart.
“I officially found out like 24 hours after they announced [the cancellation],” Stewart tells the Observer. “In the email I received, there was language about getting rebooked, but I don’t have any other info about anything, nor do I know what that would even look like.”
In June, when the festival's lineup was announced, Stewart expressed excitement on Facebook about receiving a slot. Sound on Sound was set to be All/Everything's first Austin gig.
“Sound on Sound, at the time we were booked, was our first booking in Texas outside of Dallas,” Stewart says. “We have spent most of 2017 touring the country while always flying back and maintaining our Sunday night party at RBC; however, we were definitely looking forward to playing a proper festival.”
News of the festival's cancellation was particularly surprising because of the business minds involved. Margin Walker has a presence across Texas in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. Some of its major upcoming Dallas shows are Dinosaur Jr. at the Granada Theater this Saturday and Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium on Nov. 10.
Friday's press release said that people who purchased tickets to Sound on Sound through Eventbrite will be refunded, and the festival is in the process of rescheduling a majority of the acts on the lineup at venues around Austin this fall. Ticket-holders will get priority access to purchase single tickets to any makeup shows.
“There are many acts who were touring through November 10-12 who are still performing as well as a number of artists who will be flying back in for new dates this year,” the release read.
The festival says it will announce makeup shows on Monday, Oct. 16.
Dallasites who were planning to travel to Austin for the festival and are sad to miss performances by acts such as The Shins, Ministry, Yelle, The Story So Far, Noname, Japandroids, Ariel Pink, Cloud Nothings, Citizen and the Frights, have a better option: Many of these will perform in Dallas in early November.
A quarter of the artists on Sound on Sound's lineup were booked to play shows in Dallas on their way to the festival or returning from it (in many cases through Margin Walker). The Observer spoke with representatives from several of these bands, all of whom indicated that these Dallas performances are likely to take places as scheduled.
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The Frights are set to play Club Dada on Thursday, Nov. 9, while Cloud Nothings and Japandroids are at Dada on Monday, Nov. 13. "Yes still 100% happening!" the Frights' rep, Troy Lusk, said via email when asked if the show would go on.
Nick Dierl, the Cloud Nothings' rep at public relations firm Orienteer, was less certain but cautiously optimistic in his email to the Observer. "I believe it will [still be happening], but have not heard definitively yet."
None of these early November performances by Sound on Sound artists in Dallas appear to be canceled on the venues' sites:
8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $13-$15, ticketfly.com
Citizen, The Hotelier, Sorority Noise, Alex Napping
6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, Trees, 2709 Elm St., $21, ticketfly.com
Cannibal Corpse, Power Trip
8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, Trees, 2709 Elm St., $28, ticketfly.com
7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., $63-$175, livenation.com
8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, Curtain Club, 2800 Main St., $15-$18, ticketfly.com
The Story So Far, Turnstile
7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, RBC, 2617 Commerce St., $22.50-$25, ticketfly.com
8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, Trees, 2709 Elm St., $22, ticketfly.com
Tim Sweeney, Lovefingers
10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, The Nines, 2911 Main St., $13-$15, ticketfly.com
8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, Trees, 2709 Elm St., $21.75, ticketfly.com
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, Gas Monkey Live!, 10110 Technology Blvd. E., $39.50-$70, ticketfly.com
Japandroids, Cloud Nothings
8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $25, ticketfly.com
Hot Chip (DJ Set)
9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, It'll Do, 4322 Elm St., $15-25, ticketfly.com