Alistair Cranney, who organises the festival with wife Sally, told InDaily that 80 per cent fewer tickets had been sold than at the same time last year.
He said if they had not cancelled the November 27-28 event at Penny’s Hill Winery, “we would have been knowingly walking into losing lots more money than we have”.
The 2015 Gorgeous Festival was to have been headlined by singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke, with other artists on the line-up including Melbourne Ska Orchestra, acoustic folk rock duo Falls, hip-hop artist Dylan Joel and indie-pop songstress of Montaigne.
It would also have incorporated the first Gorgeous Table dinner – a feast created by six top South Australian chefs.
The Cranneys posted a statement online yesterday announcing the cancellation and saying that while they had investigated the feasibility of scaling things back, they did not want to hold something “unworthy of the name Gorgeous Festival”.
Alistair Cranney, a former music manager, believes a combination of factors are to blame for the poor ticket sales – including the fact that Adelaide Oval will host its first day-night cricket test match, between Australia and New Zealand, on November 27.
“Locally, we know a lot of people who are members of SACA [South Australian Cricket Association], and if you don’t go when the events are on you are kind of missing out on what you’ve paid your membership for.”
He said Gorgeous was also competing with many other music and food and wine events in South Australia in the coming months, including the Handpicked Festival in Langhorne Creek and a Van Morrison tribute show at Seppeltsfield Winery in the Barossa next weekend, plus Day on the Green events in the Barossa and McLaren Vale in December, January and February.
“Perhaps the number of events isn’t sustainable.
“A lot of people are saying they’d love to come but they didn’t have the cash … money’s tight and we see a lot of negative messaging about the economy in South Australia and I think that plays into people’s fear of spending.
“I also think booking agents have a lot to answer for in terms of the damage they have done to the industry … they charge a lot of money for artists.”
The Cranneys created the first Gorgeous Festival in 2011, several years after moving to McLaren Vale, with the aim of showcasing the region’s food and wine alongside “great Australian music”.
Previous festivals have attracted strong attendances, with Alistair Cranney saying around 4000 people attended on the Saturday last year, when acts included Xavier Rudd and The Waifs.
He said he didn’t know whether the Gorgeous Festival would return in future years.
“We have to sit down and do some more research on why people didn’t purchase this year … it’s too early for us to tell.
“Our primary goal is to refund tickets and clear up other debts.”
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