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Kanrocksas Music Festival canceled

Updated: 2013-05-29T19:14:22Z

By TIMOTHY FINN

The Kansas City Star

The 2013 Kanrocksas Music Festival, scheduled for June 28-29 at the Kansas Speedway, has been canceled, organizers announced Tuesday. Lacking a heavyweight, marquee name for either day, the festival could not draw the ticket sales it needed to survive.

According to the festival’s web site, ticket refunds will be processed electronically: “Customers will receive an email Tuesday, May 28, informing them of the cancellation and when they can expect their refund.”

The Kanrocksas Music Festival was launched in August 2011. Headliners for the inaugural festival were rapper Eminem and the rock bands Muse, the Black Keys and the Flaming Lips. Attendance over two days approached 50,000 people, but the festival’s promoters lost a significant amount of money.

The festival was suspended in 2012, during which time the promoters reorganized and developed a new strategy, one that Bill Brandmeyer, the festival’s chief organizer, likened to “Moneyball,” the small-market baseball strategy.

“We felt like we could buy four to five great bands for the price of one,” he told The Star in March. “It was like a small-market philosophy to get the most of our money and offer something special.”

In January, they announced their three headliners for this year’s festival: the rapper Kendrick Lamar, DJ/producer Tiësto and the Avett Brothers, a roots-rock/country band.

“This is a good taste of our direction and where we’re headed and what we’re shooting for,” Brandmeyer said. “We’ve targeted three genres: electronic/DJ; hip-hop; and about 55 to 60 percent of the lineup will focus on alternative rock.”

In March, the remainder of the lineup was announced. It included more electronic artists, rapper T-Pain and bands such as Fun, Passion Pit, Mgmt, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. All are well-known but none has the drawing power of the 2011 festival’s headliners. And Lamar and the Avett Brothers both have performed in Kansas City within the past year.

“It’s a broad offering, very diverse,” Brandmeyer said. “At the top, we don’t have what we had last time, but that was our plan. We were very strategic about how we were going to build this festival, and I feel like we were successful in landing acts who are fast-rising and some who haven’t played Kansas City in awhile.”

The festival reportedly tried but was unable to land the popular folk-rock bands Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, either of whom would have added some heft to the lineup. Both of those bands are performing at the 16,000 seat Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in June. The Mumford show sold out quickly; the Lumineers show, which is Saturday, has also sold very well.

On May 17, the festival announced it was offering one-day tickets for $99. Two-day passes were $175. Camping was also offered for $25.

The Star was unable to reach Brandmeyer for comment.

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to tfinn@kcstar.com.

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