In the midst of one of the cruelest summers the touring industry has had in decades, the Lilith Fair announced on Thursday that it was canceling 10 dates as a result of soft ticket sales.
The female-centric tour, headlined by founder Sarah McLachlan, made its return to amphitheaters after an 11-year layoff on Sunday in Calgary, but co-founder Terry McBride admitted in a statement that slow box office has forced him to pull a number of upcoming dates.
"We are in the midst of one of the most challenging summer concert seasons with many tours being cancelled outright," McBride said in a statement. "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."
The affected dates are: Salt Lake City (July 12), Montreal (July 23), Raleigh (August 4), Charlotte (August 6), West Palm Beach (August 10), Tampa (August 11), Birmingham (August 12), Austin (August 14), Houston (August 15) and Dallas (August 16). Because of the cancellations, some of the artists who were set to appear later in the tour may be performing in other cities. Fans are encouraged to check Lilithfair.com for updates on lineups.
One of the most successful package tours of its era in the late 1990s (1997-1999), McLachlan and McBride decided to bring Lilith — which features a rotating list of headliners — back this year with a roster of tour veterans and a number of new stars. Among the acts taking part this year are: Erykah Badu, Rihanna, Gossip, Colbie Caillat, Cat Power, Selena Gomez, Corinne Bailey Rae, Indigo Girls, Kelly Clarkson, Jill Scott, Heart, Queen Latifah, Norah Jones, Mary J. Blige, Metric, Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow, Tegan and Sara, Sugarland, and Janelle Monae.
The cancellations come during a summer in which the touring industry — which had record $4.4 billion grosses last summer — is struggling in the midst of a rash of concert cancellations and soft-selling tours. U2 were forced to postpone the latest leg of their 360 Tour when singer Bono suffered a back injury during rehearsals; Christina Aguilera pulled the plug on a summer tour promoting her Bionic album, citing scheduling conflicts; and Limp Bizkit called off its entire slate of amphitheater shows after complaining that they were not appropriate venues for the band. Maxwell also mothballed a leg of his summer tour just weeks before Simon & Garfunkel did the same due to a vocal injury suffered by Art Garfunkel.