Canada’s WayHome Festival has been cancelled for 2018. According to the festival’s website and Facebook page, WayHome plans to take a “pause” next year.
The WayHome site opens to a pause symbol and a message that reads: “THANK YOU for the love & support the community of WayHomies have shown over the last three years. The millions of magical moments we created and shared together will sit in our memory banks to be relived for years to come. This isn’t goodbye, just see you later.”
WayHome Music and Arts Festival began in 2015 with a stellar first lineup headlined by Neil Young, Kendrick Lamar, and Sam Smith. In the following years, WayHome has seen performances from LCD Soundsystem, Solange, Frank Ocean, The Killers and Arcade Fire with attendance reported at up to 40,000 people.
This year the festival was awarded a Live Music Industry Award for a major festival at Canadian Music Week and won the 2016 New Kid on the Block award.
The festival is put on by concert promoters Republic Live with help from Fource Entertainment. Republic Live also hosts the three-day country-focused Boots and Hearts Music Festival. Both festivals take place at the 585-acre Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, Ontario which is owned by Republic Live founders Eva and Stan Dunford.
In a statement, Republic Live said it plans to produce “a series of concerts and events throughout the summer of 2018, and will continue to expand on the functionality” of the Burl’s Creek Event Grounds.
“The custom-designed 600-plus acre site is beyond comparison to others in this area. We have a huge opportunity to develop music and other events at Burl’s Creek and will focus on these prospects over the next year and into the future,” Republic Live CFO David Cuddy added in a statement.
The founders said in a statement: “After much consideration, we have made the difficult decision to push pause on the 2018 edition, to allow us to reflect, re-assess and re-imagine the event. We want to thank all of our fans, artists, staff, vendors, sponsors, suppliers, partners, and community members. We sincerely appreciate your support and participation over the last three years to create a truly special festival.”
The Canadian festival scene has shown signs of wear in recent years. This year saw the collapse of Pemberton Music Festival, the Toronto Urban Festival also announced it would be taking at least a year off, and Live Nation Canada’s Squamish Festival was cancelled in 2016. U.K.’s Bestival and Chicago’s Riot Fest also recently pulled out of holding events in the Canadian city.
In May, Republic Live’s creative director for both festivals, Ryan Howes, left the company less than 100 days after the events. Howes told The Peter Borough Examiner at the time that the decision to leave was amicable and mentioned “a desire to ‘move on to some other new and exciting initiatives in the province of Ontario … for 2018 and beyond.’” Republic Live told the Examiner that “the creative director position will remain vacant for the time being as ‘all elements of Howes’ role have been fulfilled for the season.'”
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