It may be only February, but for the concert industry the summer is already here, with artists completing their tour schedules and festivals releasing their lineups. Bonnaroo, in Tennessee in June, has announced most of its 100-plus acts, and blogs have been buzzing for weeks about who is expected for Lollapalooza in Chicago in August.
One name, however, has been conspicuously absent from the chatter: All Points West, the three-day festival at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Begun two years ago by the promoters behind Coachella, the trend-setting event in the California desert, All Points West got off to a rocky start, with fan complaints in 2008 about slow ferries from Manhattan, and heavy rain last year.
Executives at AEG Live, the promoter of All Points West, say they have not yet decided whether it will return for a third year.
There is no question that our biggest challenge is finding suitable headliners, and it has been more challenging this year than in the past, said Mark Shulman, a veteran talent buyer for AEG. No final determination of any kind has been made for 2010.
But many in the music industry doubt whether All Points West, which has been held in August, will return this summer. A number of prominent booking agents and other executives, most of whom requested anonymity because they did not want to jeopardize business with AEG, said that nothing had been booked and that it would be very difficult for AEG to put a lineup together this late in the year, since most artists plans for the summer were already set.
It seems more and more clear these days that a headlining artist is a necessity to run a productive and successful festival, said Frank Riley of High Road Touring, which represents Wilco, Feist and Ryan Adams, among others. Without a clear headliner in place at this point, it seems unlikely that the festival will take place in August 2010.