Big Music Fest in Kitchener cancelled for summer 2016

Organizers of the Big Music Fest said they are having difficulty securing "world-class performers" for this summer.

'We'd be here ready to go again,' city official tells CBC News

There will be no Big Music Fest this summer in Kitchener, organizers announced Monday. (Shutterstock)

There will be no Big Music Fest in Kitchener this summer with organizers citing difficulties securing "a line-up of world-class performers."

But, organizers of the week-long event say they have "every intention" of returning next year.

"BMF (Big Music Fest) is committed to ensuring the talent we do bring to Kitchener is reflective of the city's desire to be a destination city for outstanding music and entertainment events," the festival's owner and president Mark Higgins said in an emailed statement Monday afternoon.

"Kitchener is a strong market for BMF and this year's decision in no way reflects our efforts in building a stand-out line up for 2017."

Sunday concert cancelled last year

The festival came under fire last year when the concert featuring Rod Stewart and Blondie was cancelled about a month before they were set to perform.

At that time, Higgins defended keeping a $270,000 Celebrate Ontario grant to put on the festival.

"The Celebrate Ontario Grant was an integral part of building up our festival...which in turn helped make Kitchener an even greater place to visit," he said in July 2015. "Last year, we brought more than $7 million in economic stimulus to the downtown Kitchener area. Next year, we hope to surpass this."

Jeff Young, the manager of special events for the City of Kitchener, said staff are committed to working with Higgins in the future.

"All indications are that he tried to make a go of it in 2016, the entertainment that he wanted didn't align with what he was hoping to get, so he decided to go dark for 2016 but, you know, was looking for plans in 2017. And if that's the case, then absolutely we'd be here ready to go again just like we would for any festival that wants to come to our city," Young told CBC News.

"It's disappointing, but we get it."

In 2014, the festival had Bryan Adams and Aerosmith. In 2015, the Saturday night concert featured Jane's Addiction and Soundgarden.


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