- Deborah Sengupta Stith American-Statesman Staff
The second edition of SOS Fest has been canceled. “This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. Due to several recent roadblocks outside of our control and in an effort to do right by our fans, the decision to cancel the event was our only real option,” festival organizers said in a statement delivered to media on Friday afternoon.
On Saturday morning, festival booker Graham Williams said the festival was forced to cancel when their main investor pulled out. Williams did not name the investor and said the decision to pull out wasn’t related to SOS Fest specifically but rather, “just cold feet, worry about the festival market in general.”
“It was a lot of things that gave them lack of confidence,” Williams said. “Not us, but watching too many other events go belly up, the financial risks, safety. It really sucks to have already known and sorted this months ago and...have someone change their mind and go another direction, which leaves us holding the bag.”
He said the shooting in Las Vegas might have exacerbated the situation. “A tragedy of that magnitude made this week even harder for potential plan b investors,” he said.
All ticket holders will be refunded for the costs of their tickets. Festival organizers say the refund process has already been initiated for attendees who purchased tickets through Eventbrite. “There is no action necessary on your end and you can expect to see the refund on your credit/debit card statement within the next 5-7 business days,” fest reps say.
Fest organizers are asking anyone with a physical ticket to email firstname.lastname@example.org to process a refund. That is also the email contact to use if you have questions or concerns about the refund process.
Fest organizers are in the process of rescheduling many of the artists who were booked to play Sound On Sound Fest into local venues in the area. Fans who purchased Sound On Sound tickets will be offered an opportunity to purchase single tickets for the rescheduled shows before the public onsale. Ticket holders will be emailed a link with details before sales begin. The schedule for shows will be announced on Monday, Oct. 16. The private presale exclusively for all Sound On Sound Fest ticket holders will start that day and run until 8 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, when the public onsale begins.
Last year, the indie genre festival, booked by Fun Fun Fun Fest founder Graham Williams, staged a Medieval-themed debut at Sherwood Forest Faire, roughly 45 minutes outside of Austin.
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Year one had mixed reviews. Fest-goers enjoyed the unique setting in a Renaissance Festival village and the carefully curated lineup, but shuttle services to the event were a disaster and the final day of the fest was plagued by rain troubles that caused them to temporarily evacuate the festival grounds.
The festival was the first outdoor music event booked by Williams’ company Margin Walker Presents following a dissolution of Transmission Events, the company he founded with Mohawk owner James Moody when they launched Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Stratus Properties, a local real estate company whose holdings include the W Austin, the music venues ACL Live and 3Ten at ACL Live, now holds full ownership of Transmission Entertainment and the Fun Fun Fun Festival brand. For months, representatives from Stratus declined to comment on the status of the Fun Fun Fun Fest, which had a three-day slot reserved at Auditorium Shores.
This year, All ATX, a benefit concert for several Austin music nonprofits that traditionally takes place at ACL Live has moved to Auditorium Shores for a one-day event called Back to the Armadillo on October 29.