Lilith Fair cancels 10 dates: Why is this tour struggling?

The organizers of the 2010 Lilith Fair — initially one of the most-anticipated tours of the summer — have just announced the cancellation of 10 dates: Salt Lake City, Montreal, Raleigh, Charlotte, West Palm Beach, Tampa, Birmingham, Austin, Houston, and Dallas.

These cancellations come on the back of previously-announced pulled shows in Nashville and Phoenix, and in the wake of artists like Norah Jones and Kelly Clarkson bailing from one or more scheduled dates on the tour. Meanwhile, the shows that are going on — tonight is the tour’s third night, in Vancouver — are suffering from embarrassingly low attendance, and being moved to venues half the size of the original stops.

In the just-released cancellation announcement, Lilith co-founder Terry McBride says, “We are in the midst of one of the most challenging summer concert seasons with many tours being cancelled outright. Everyone involved with the tour would like to apologize to the fans and artists scheduled to play in these markets, and express appreciation for all the support for the festival’s return. Lilith remains the only tour of its kind, and we are confident that fans will be amazed by what each date has to offer.”

Refunds are of course being offered, and fans are encouraged to check the website to find out how the cancelled shows may affect the artist lineups in their towns. But meanwhile, it’s time to put on your fantasy management caps, Mixers: Why is this tour struggling? Head Lilith lady Sarah McLachlan recently told EW she thought this summer’s Fair was less of a “need” and more of a “want” — so do you people not want it? Or do you really not have the money to make it out to the show? Discuss.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Comments (152 total) Add your comment
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  • TONY

    the fact that there are no comments yet, should tell you everything you need to know

    • bfd

      Also the fact that no one even knew it was going to happen. There has been very little advertising for it. If people don’t know it’s going on, how are they supposed to buy tickets for it.

  • high ticket prices.

    • Lillith Ne’er

      The performers’ tampon budget has led to exorbitant ticket prices.

      • misslily

        What a neanderthal comment … clearly you have no idea about the costs of staging major concert events like this … not that this fact would stop your sorry mouth. Or do you think you’re tacky remark is just terribly clever? (News flash – it’s not!)

      • ger

        Wouldn’t that be absorbent ticket prices?

        I already regret this comment.

      • maiv

        Wow, what an original comment…

      • jared

        …maybe not terribly clever, but really funny!!!

      • who cares

        @misslily…you are wrong. neanderthals can’t speak, much less type. and i am sure you have staged several major concerts so you speak from experience.

        @ger – don’t regret, that was actually sorta funny.

      • sculliosis

        i chuckled a little. it wasn’t anything incredibly offensive.

      • M

        At least fans of the artists don’t have to pull any strings to get tickets…

      • Nick Bardok

        they could ask paul mccartney to do a few shows with wings, that might help

    • Sally in Chicago

      An all women’s tour has always had it tough because women do not support all-women festivals….it’s just a feminist thing I guess. I Believe Queen Latifah tried to do something similar when she toured with Beyonce and Alicia Keys…the tour was sold out, but it was a one time thing. You would think they would repeat it or expand on it….didn’t happen.
      Maybe women touring cause too much “drama”…but the bottom line is a combination of economy (a lot of women have been severely hurt by the economy — layoffs and firings and lower wages)…people don’t have discretionary funds like they used to….and I repeat women don’t support women in the festival arena….now if the tour was one where males were involved (i.e. John Mayer, John Legend) maybe it would sell out.

      Look at AI….when was the last time a woman won? Even though the women are singing rings around the men….I rest my case.

      • Ally

        10 years ago Lilith Fair sold out pretty quickly. It goes straight to economy right now. And your John Mayer point isn’t terribly right. He is coming to my city in a few weeks and they dropped the ticket price to $10 b/c no one was buying… Sucks but it happens. Not to mention Live Nation wasn’t charging fees in June, so they really were $10.

      • payne

        Ally is correct. This is a festival that at one time was supported. It’s the economy in part. I also have to say that while I like Sarah McLachlan … I haven’t really listened to her in awhile. I think the line-up on this tour is OK. But it could have used some different or other artists. And I don’t think the marketing has been spectacular on it.

      • Daniel

        Not to mention that when Lillith started, it was in a major point for women in music: Sarah Mac, Sheryl Crow, Melissa, Meredith Brooks, Paula Cole, among others, were to the latter half of the 90s as grunge was to the first half. That kind of national female music movement just isn’t going on right now.

  • CL

    This makes me sad, but it’s not surprising given how many other tours are doing. However, as long as they don’t cancel my date, I’m going, and I’m looking forward to it!

  • Maria

    I couldn’t afford to go. Like many, unemployed. I read that a much higher percentage of women are unemployed currently than men. I bet that’s a big reason.

    • Sally in Chicago

      You are right….women, who made enormous strides in the workplace years ago, are being thrown out of work. Not only that, their children are not working and are living at home, so the woman has to support the kids too.

      • Michael Ellis

        Actually, this is not factually correct. Men lost about 80% of the jobs in the past 2 years, which is why some economists refer to a “mancession.” The % of women in the workplace just crossed 50%. Check out the NYT’s Economix blog for the data.

        Yes, I realize this has nothing to do with Lilith.

      • who cares

        anybody know what percentage of lesbians lost their jobs? i think that would be a more relevant fact here.

      • Carey

        I hate myself for laughing at that, who cares.

      • Amanda

        Just wanted to point out that you’re completely wrong about this. Women have been the ones allowed to keep jobs while men have been getting laid off in huge numbers. The Dept of Labor stats prove this.

  • Frank from

    Is this the year of summer tour cancellations (and postponements) or what? Let’s see: U2, Interpol, Christina Aguilera, Limp Bizkit, Mastodon, Drake, Rhianna, Maxwell and Jill Scott, John Mayer, now many of the Lilith Fair shows. Sure some of it couldn’t be helped (U2 with Bono’s emergency back surgery for one). But I’d be willing to bet that the recession has finally kicked in with concertgoers who can no longer afford to be spending money on expensive shows. I should know, I’m one of them.

    • Sally in Chicago

      Wow! I didn’t know about Maxwell and Scott…I thought that was “on”….but what these acts should consider is what the Black Eyed Peas did — pay on demand….the BEP played Vegas live somewhere and they sold tickets to local theatres around the country or $20 for the live event. I don’t know why more acts don’t do that. I can’t fly to Vegas to see the BEP, but i would pay $20 to see them live on the screen.

    • Sally in Chicago ” Sour note: Economy hits summer tours” and talks about high ticket prices make consumers more selective of concerts they attend

  • lala

    Don’t believe anything Whitney Pastorek has to saay, everyone! She’s a sad liar! See her blog post/article on Danny Gokey from January. Even the Enquirer would be too ashamed to print such lies!

    Hurry and delete this post, Whitney!

    • Cady

      Dude, did Whitney pee in your cheerios or something?

    • Glory

      Uhhhh…get a life!

    • bruno

      is this danny gokey’s dad??…

  • frank

    who wants to see a bunch of women sing about what it’s like being a woman? Bored.

    • Cris

      Yeah, right, Frank? In fact, who let ‘em out of the kitchen to begin with? They’ve got nothing worthwhile to say. Go back to the 1950s, moron.

      • LOL

        Frank is a Teabagger.

    • Suzanne

      Do guys only sing about what it’s like to be a man?

      • Michaela

        amen, sister friend.

  • LOL

    Concert ticket prices are too high. The economy is in horrible shape. Is anyone really that surprised?

  • BossGalaga

    Not good enough lineups.

    • gayathomemom

      I agree! The only line-up even remotely interesting is in Boston. Everywhere else, meh..

  • Barry

    Maybe because there are lots of unknown artists performing at the shows. At the advertised NY show (though it is being held in NJ NOT NY)Carly Simon is the only artist appearing there that I’d pay money to see in concert.

    • Ellen in NYC

      Exactly! I didn’t know most of the performers. But even if I did, not likely that I would schlep to NJ. For anyone.

  • —–

    Ticket prices for Lilith Fair were outrageous. I know a lot of people were looking forward to it, and then decided not to go when ticket prices were revealed.

    • Sally in Chicago

      But they would pay the same price for a U2 or Bon Jovi concert!

      • Chelsea

        No I wouldn’t.
        I never paid that much for Aerosmith.

      • who cares

        then get someone of that caliber to play and problem solved.

    • Devil

      I managed to get lawn seats in Boston for $12. But then Kelly Clarkson ducked out, so that sucks.

      I want to go to DC to see the Indigo Girls and Beth Orton, but lawn seats there are $57. I’m gonna wait and see if they go down, since Travel Zoo just had a bunch of cheap tickets for other cities.

      • Fatima

        I can’t think of an artist who bails last minute more than Kelly Clarkson. It really makes me dislike her.

      • Seriously

        Seriously, c’mon now @ Fatima. The times she has had to “bail” she had good reason to .

      • T

        Kelly has always been fan-friendly. Sorry your show was canceled, but “bailed” is not the word I would use to describe Kelly pulling out from shows. She posted an explanation on her website – she’s going to spend the extra time in the studio working on her new album. As a fan, I’m pumped she’s working hard on the new music!!

      • kay

        how did you get tickets for $12??

  • Sam

    Since I live in Houston, I didn’t even get a chance to dig deep to get go to the concert. I passed on the Eagles to go to Lilth and now I’ve missed them both! They didn’t even give Texas a chance. At least they could have left one of the cities on the tour. Austin most likely would have had a fabulous turn out with Houston and Dallas canceled. Oh well…stuff happens.

  • Scar2

    Saw it 12 yrs ago & loved it. However, i just couldn’t afford it this yr.

  • jmy9595

    I’d rather have unnecessary dental work than listen to a parade of yodelly folky women with guitars. I couldn’t stand it then, don’t need it now.

  • nessab

    It’s not 1997 anymore. We’ve all moved on.

    • LR

      My immediate thought, as soon as I heard that Lilith Fair was coming back, was that this go-around was going to fail in comparison to the orginal concert series. The spirit of the mid- to late-90s was much better suited to this kind of show. In the era of Gaga, this just won’t be as effective as it was before. Imagine trying to create a similar concert series in the era of 80s Madonna…. twenty years later, we’re endeavouring into the same territory of music, with the beats, the synth, etc… the days of cleansing our music palette with Shawn Colvin, Joan Osbourne, etc.. after all the plasticity of early 90s is done. It’s not like Woodstock, but Lilith Fair was special because it had the very good luck at existing at the right time in our pop history. Tastes have changed, and that late 90s feel just can’t be recaptured.

      • Fridge

        Completely agree. The popular female singers we have now, really don’t coincide well with each other–I can’t see Gaga and Xtina agreeing to go on the same tour.

      • Andy

        Well put…Lilith Fair was a Gen X thing, Gen X has moved on and Gen Y is into different things.

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