Organizers forced to cancel LouFest 2018 after financial concern

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ST. LOUIS - One of the biggest concerts in St. Louis--scheduled for this weekend in Forest Park--has been canceled. The announcement was posted by LouFest via Twitter just before 2 a.m.: "We are saddened to announce that LouFest 2018 is canceled."

The annual concert was scheduled to take place on September 8-9, but that won't be happening. Some of the top acts supposed to hit the stage this weekend were T-Pain, Robert Plant, and Modest Mouse.

A press release from Mark Van Hee the managing partner of the company who produces the event Listen Live Entertainment listed a few reasons for the cancellation, the biggest one being "severe financial hurdles".

Van Hee said the event lost two of their top sponsors. There were some scheduling and contract issues with major artists and the company is dealing with existing debt from previous events.

On Friday St. Louis Public Radio reported that some key contractors started pulling out of the event. Van Hee said after that vendors and artists started demanding money upfront.

Although Listen Live Entertainment does not have the funds to issue refunds, the festival ticketing company Front Gate Tickets is stepping up to refund fans while they work to repay the debt.

Schlafly Beer posted this message to Facebook, "We are extremely disappointed in the decision to cancel Loufest. Not only for our investment in the local music festival but all of our additional local restaurants, makers and artists friends who lost a lot. Loufest should be a celebration of all things St. Louis, and we were the first local brewery to support the event when it first began years ago. With craft beer invited back this year, we were still excited to be a part of it although we did have some concerns about the organization of the event.

We spent countless hours designing a special commemorative can exclusively for the festival. We did a special canning run of that beer just for the festival – not a small investment and something we don’t normally do. The LouFest can was only going to be available at the festival. It wasn’t just about using the Loufest name, we wanted to do something special for the attendees.

Even with our busy schedules of preparing for the 20th anniversary of our HOP in the City Festival next weekend, we still made time with our design, brewing and events team to be a part of Loufest. So now, we will now shift gears to focus our energy on our celebration of local beer, music and the St. Louis community at HOP. We will also have several tribute bands there so it’s a free concert for all. All guests are welcome, and there’s also a $35 tasting ticket option to enjoy unlimited samples of 40+ of our beers.

We’re inviting all Loufest ticket-holders to join us Saturday, September 15 at the Schlafly Tap Room. Doors open at 11 a.m. with the tasting from noon to 4 pm. We will be offering 10% off tasting tickets starting today at 10 a.m. through this weekend for Loufest ticket holders here with the code ‘LOUFEST18’. Loufest ticketholders can also pick up a free commemorative can by showing their ticket stub, wristband, or receipt at either one of our brewpub location starting on Friday at 5 p.m. While supplies last and limit of one per ticket-holding customer."

The St. Louis Brewers Guild posted this message to Facebook, "We are devastated to learn news that LouFest Music Festival has been cancelled just days before the event. We loved supporting this event and were thrilled to be working with their team to help create a local beer-focused footprint for the event this year with “BrewFest”. Our local breweries and restaurants have invested so much in terms of time, planning, sponsorship fees, brewing and packaging tons of beer, food ordering, promotion, and staffing and this is a huge blow. Please take a look at the lineups for both BrewFest and the Nosh Pit and go out of your way to show these folks some extra love if you can. Thank you for supporting our local beer and food scene."

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