A lengthy post over at the Facebook of ‘This is Hardcore Fest‘—persumably made by the festival’s organizer Joe Hardcore—laments the current state of hardcore/metal and the alleged bleak future of hardcore festivals to come. If you’ve got some time on your hands, read on for his thoughts:
“The end is near.
The days of calling a weekend a festival and it being an automatic success are over.
Hellfest, Krazy Fest, Positive Numbers, The Rumble, and plenty of others have fallen to the wayside over the past 10 years. A lot of different reasons but we will see a decline in the most popular festivals in the next couple years as every new promoter and agent love to get in bed with each other to create these new “fests” that fall short in all the categories, and yet as they fall their collective drop brings the weight down on the big names like This Is Hardcore, Black n Blue Bowl, United Blood etc.
What is going on? Why could this ever happen?
The simple answer : Over saturation.
Too many bands, too many shows, too many fests.
Nothing is special, nothing is a one time thing.
Kids today live in a world where a show is like a bus, there is always going to be another one.
There are many kids that would drive 5 hours or more out of their hometown to see a band somewhere they don’t live but won’t put effort into coming into the city they live closest to on a weeknight.
The bands today are coming out so fast, they aren’t even taking the time to write songs that may not have been written before, let alone bothering to Google around to see if their new band name was used by a hardcore/punk/metal core band before.
Its a rush to get 3 songs on a bandcamp, 2 shirts on a merchdirect site and a 10 day tour supporting 2 other bands that can’t draw 100 people in their own home town but want $250 plus each to play yours for the first time.
There are too many people using numbers for their own advantage with a wanton disregard for the way it effects the scene as a whole.
Promoters aren’t off the hook here, as many young, green promoters get their first shot at a band or tour by offering 50% more then the band is worth in the area to a greedy agent who will take the bigger money over the better show for the band.
I could write a book on the bands that play for the bigger money and the agents who validate this mentality. But instead I’d rather laugh as they spend more money in gas playing further drives then they would if they went to the right people in the first place and would walk home with some more of the money the putting all through their gas tank- but that’s another tale.
When you have something like the hardcore scene, you’re dealing with an finite number of people interested in spending time, energy and money.
Lets look at it as a pizza.
Every time there is something called a fest that pops up, the whole pizza is sliced again and every piece gets thinner.
In a communist pizza, all slices would be equal and the pizza wouldn’t be bought, it would distributed based on the work etc, but that’s not my point here.
The ideology of the “big fests” not being hurt is a fallacy and it is being proven in the last 2 years as fests have seen smaller presales and lower walkups.
I would stress to say this isn’t hearsay, this is real numbers and facts.
We could bicker and argue that hardcore is dying and that isn’t what it was in the 90s etc. But if we look at it, its better then it ever has been, its just being sliced up so thin, that its becoming something that isn’t worth what it used to and yet somehow is costing more money each year for the end user (the ticket purchaser)
Gas goes up, hotel rates go up, Insurance goes up.
Wages aren’t going up, yet door prices at shows are going up. Merch is going up.
Everyone is taking a little bit more money each time it goes around.
A show should be safe to book with about 50% to 60% of the room filled.
If you are booking a room that holds 500, that means around 250-275 the bills and guarantees should be covered.
Only now it’s more likely that the show will need to have 400 paid in a 500 person room to breakeven.
More kids needed, more money needs to be charged and it pushes smaller promoters in small scenes to constant breaking points and makes every show a bitter contest of not what is best/fair/smart but what makes the most money for the band and agent and in the case of the promoter – how do I figure out how to lose as little money as possible?
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