Local Current Blog

SoundTown pulls the plug on 2012 installment

We have just learned that SoundTown, which was slated to take place July 26-28 at Somerset Amphitheater, has been canceled.

This would have been SoundTown’s second installment, following a slow but promising start to the festival last August which featured headliners the Flaming Lips.

“It’s heartbreaking,” says Matt Mithun, who owns Somerset Amphitheater and launched the inaugural SoundTown Festival last year. “I can’t help but think about last year; I feel like it was such a nice experience, at least from my view. I thought we had some momentum.” This year’s lineup was set to include Jane’s Addiction, Weezer, Florence + the Machine, Dr. Dog, Girl Talk, and dozens of other national and local acts.

Mithun says that the cancellation is due to low ticket sales. “I’ve been trying every single way to keep this thing alive,” he says. “As you know we have a bigger financial partner in it this year with JAM, I had a very sobering conversation with them about overall ticket sales, and we’re just not hitting the threshold we need to.”

SoundTown isn’t the only event scheduled for Somerset Amphitheater this year, but Mithun says it’s by far the worst performer in terms of ticket sales. The upcoming My Morning Jacket show (with Band of Horses and Trampled by Turtles), Slipknot, and the Summer Set festival are all selling well and proceeding as planned.

Mithun purchased the Somerset Amphitheater in 2010 and invested a large sum of money into a remodeling project that included constructing a giant concrete permanent stage and installing permanent bathrooms and other facilities. SoundTown was Mithun’s first attempt at hosting an event at Somerset, making the cancellation a difficult decision.

“Looking back, I probably would have grown it a little more incrementally, more modest growth,” he reflects. “And I think the execution, to be honest, I don’t know if we went about it quite right and built the hype like we could have. I think about it daily what we could have done differently. It didn’t quite click.”

Mithun says he plans to stay positive and continue moving forward with his other events. “What I’m trying to do is separate the venue from the show; obviously they’re both very intimate to me, but I’m trying to look at the long term,” he says. 

UPDATE, 12:30pm: Festival organizers say that ticket refund information will be available soon at SoundTownFest.com.

Coincidentally, the AP is reporting that Florence + the Machine have canceled a pair of festival dates in Europe as a result of a vocal injury sustained by lead singer Florence Welch. “Seriously I felt something snap, it was very frightening,” the singer tweeted. “I’ve been told I cannot sing for a week.” There’s no word on whether she was planning to cancel her SoundTown date, or whether her potential cancellation affected the festival’s overall decision to pull the plug.

UPDATE, 2pm: First Avenue is already in the process of moving some of SoundTown’s scheduled acts to other venues. They just announced a show at the Cedar Cultural Center on Saturday, July 28 with Best Coast, JEFF the Brotherhood, and Those Darlins. Tickets and info here.

Additionally, the 400 Bar announced last night that they would host White Denim on July 28.

UPDATE, 7/12/12: Dr. Dog will now headline First Avenue’s Mainroom on Friday, July 27. Openers TBA; tickets here. Frequent Twin Cities passers-through Black Box Revelation will play the Triple Rock on July 28, also with openers TBA. And The Baseball Project will move to the 400 Bar for a July 27 show; tickets and info here

UPDATE, 7/16/12: And finally, Temper Trap will perform a late show (11 p.m.) at First Avenue on Saturday, July 28 (tickets here), taking the place of their weekly Too Much Love dance night.