Brian Cohen | St. Louis Public Radio

Brian Cohen

The Avett Brothers at LouFest 2015
File photo | Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

When the organizers of LouFest canceled the event, the news came as a shock to many, though signs of the festival’s distress had been apparent. The festival’s promoter, Listen Live Entertainment, insisted that everything was fine until the moment it pulled the plug.

The announcement identified several causes including the loss of key sponsors, debt and expected rain. Organizers insisted the festival had been on target “until a bit of unfortunately timed media coverage caused many of our vendors and artists to demand up-front payment.”

Brian Cohen (at left), the founder of LouFest, and St. Louis Public Radio’s Holly Edgell discussed the cancelation of this weekend’s festival.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Like so many St. Louisans this week, LouFest founder Brian Cohen was surprised and saddened to learn that the major St. Louis music festival set for this weekend had been canceled.

“It’s a sad day for sure, for a lot of people,” he told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “I didn’t necessarily see it going down this way – it certainly was a shock to me, and we’ll just have to see if we can find some answers as to why it all happened this way.”

Cohen, who in 2016 sold his stake in the company that organizes the festival, didn’t speculate about possible financial mismanagement or poor decisions that may have led to this year’s issues. But he acknowledged that the music industry is a difficult one where it’s easy to run into trouble.

Murmuration

St. Louis’s first “innovation festival” is starting to take shape.  The multi-focused event, called the Murmuration Festival, has announced its debut musical line up this fall, which will include the electronic jazz project Flying Lotus, electronica group Tycho and the rock band Deerhoof.

Pokey LaFarge
(Courtesy of the artist)

LouFest will present its sixth lineup of platinum artists and hometown musicians and all those in between on September 12-13, 2015. 

Since 2010, LouFest has been a small-town festival drawing big names; it celebrates St. Louis as much as the musicians that come to play here. It puts local names like Pokey LaFarge and Clockwork next to artists such as Hozier, Ludacris, and Billy Idol. And smaller bands with their own core following get a big stage and enthusiastic crowd in exchange for their travel to the Midwest.

LouFest Returns To Forest Park

Sep 5, 2014
Justin Johnson and William Godfred of Pretty Little Empire perform Thursday at St. Louis Public Radio. The band will perform Sunday at LouFest.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

LouFest returns for its fifth year at Forest Park this weekend.

The festival features big-name headliners Outkast, Cake and Arctic Monkeys, as well as local groups, including Old Salt Union, Big Brother Thunder and The Master Blasters, and Pretty Little Empire.

On Friday, we talked to LouFest founder and organizer Brian Cohen and two members of Pretty Little Empire: Justin Johnson and William Godfred.