Zoning problems and rising costs have forced the cancellation of Capital Hoedown 2012, organizers say.
The announcement came in an email statement issued Monday by Concert International president Denis Benoit, who had put off questions last week — failing to honour scheduled interviews with every major Ottawa media outlet — from reporters seeking a much-anticipated update on the status of the festival.
In a note attached to Monday's email statement, Benoit said he is suing some media organizations "for untrue, defamatory and injurious statements towards the festival." He did not say what those statements might be and which organizations published them.
In the statement, organizers say the festival was cancelled in part because the city refused to allow it to be held at a ranch on Fallowfield Road, a property not zoned to allow that kind of event.
"In light of the recent decision by the City of Ottawa to disapprove the city permit at Numech Ranch, this year’s festival is officially cancelled," the statement reads.
"Unfortunately, higher than expected costs from the city, upfront production expenditures and lower than anticipated ticket sales were all factors," it said. "Combined with the high media attention and the city’s denial for a new event permit, it created a confidence issue among our ticket buyers and supporters. We were left but no choice but to cancel this year’s event."
Credit card refunds coming
The beleaguered country music festival was forced to move its concert to Fallowfield after the city cancelled a deal to let the festival be held at Walter Baker Park. The city said Hoedown organizers had failed to provide payment for the rental of the park before an agreed upon deadline.
A number of high-profile performers originally slated to play at the three-day festival pulled out, including Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Terri Clark and Sheryl Crow.
Monday's statement says ticket buyers can receive full credit card refunds and should see them on their statements within a week. After that, the statement says, people are asked to contact their credit card companies.
Organizers said they hope to bring the festival back next year.