Let me say up front, I won’t quite be answering the question in the above headline…
When things don’t work out as expected and people lose lots of dough – especially big money backers rolling the dice in uncharted waters – something has to give – more on this later.
In the case of the music festival Kanrocksas, it won’t be returning this summer as it had promised.
Insiders estimate last summer’s inaugural fest at the Kansas Speedway churned a wake of $2.5 to $4 million in red ink.
That’s a lot to love.
Now let’s take a look at the spin spoon fed to local media in Kanrocksas press release Tuesday:
"Due to a major construction project at Kansas Speedway during the summer of 2012, Kanrocksas Music Festival will not return until 2013. Following the successful inaugural Kanrocksas Music Festival at Kansas Speedway in August 2011…"
Was the fest successful? Nobody who knows how to operate a calculator would likely describe it that way.
However, the thousands of attendees and fans of Muse and Eminem probably would. And for them it was.
I remember around 1,200 people laughing their you-know-whats off at my Jay Leno show at the Music Hall years ago while I suffered a pretty hefty financial hit. They had a great time, Jay delivered the comedy goods and I limped out of the venue on my not so merry way.
Now let’s take a look at why Kanrocksas says why it won’t be back this summer.
Because of the construction this spring and summer at the Speedway. Nice spin, but no cigar.
Because everybody involved has known for more than a year – before the first Kanrocksas even – that the Speedway would be embroiled in its "facelift" this year. So nothing new there. Former Star race writer Jim Pedley wrote about it in great detail early last July on the Web site RacinToday.
Were the construction project to have stood in the way of this year’s fest, Kanrocksas would have known about it long ago and could easily have moved the fest to a different venue – like Wakarusa did when it lost its deal at Clinton State Park in Lawrence – or simply told everybody last year it would be skipping 2012.
A better bet is Kanrocksas has been scrambling and trying to make it work but finally threw in the towel after it became obvious that time and/or money had run out.
So will it actually return in 2013 as announced?
There’s talk that younger, hipper local promoters think the concept is still viable and may be courting the same deep pockets that took the financial hit on Kanrocksas last year.
What the heck? Wakarusa is a goldmine and who doesn’t like the idea of going for the gold?
Meanwhile, as offered up here last week, Kanrocksas can keep its freak flag flying by doing smaller events at Sandstone and/or Livestrong Sporting Park.
Looking for some more uplifting news where Kanrocksas is concerned?
Not a problem.
Atop the announcement on Kanrocksas Facebook page about the fest not goiing down this year is a big, fat thumbs up from William J Brandmeyer, reportedly the lead investor for Kanrocksas. Put another way, as goes Brandmeyer, so may go Kanrocksas.
Brandmeyer’s take on Facebook:
"Although incredibly disappointing, Kanrocksas will return in 2013. Its clear that our city deserves to host a major music festival, and we will not be denied."