Isle of Man festival cancelled after ticket sales fail to take off

Cancellation of event featuring Primal Scream and Johnny Marr suggests Isle of Man is a destination too far for music fans

The Isle of Man Music festival has been cancelled. Organisers blamed lack of local support for the one-day bash, which was to host appearances by Johnny Marr, Paloma Faith and Primal Scream.

"If tickets don't sell, they don't sell and artists can't get paid," the promoters wrote on Monday. That was a dramatic turnaround from the festival's earlier tweets. Even at eight that morning, organisers were counting down the days: "Just 12 … to go," they wrote. "IT'S YOUR ISLAND, IT'S YOUR FESTIVAL".

But by 5pm, the July 6 festival had been called off. "Unfortunately it seems that the public on the island weren't quite ready to invest in [the] festival," event boss Chris Heyes told NME. "For those travelling from the mainland and Ireland the travel arrangements … [were] for some reason proving too much of an undertaking." Although Heyes claimed the £55 ticket price should have been a draw, he added: "I guess it's easier to just go somewhere that you can easily drive to without a ferry or a flight."

An official statement read: "The risk in pursuing the event would put businesses on and off the island in jeopardy."

Fans' response to the cancellation ranged from sadness to "I told you so". "Gutted for everyone involved, hopefully in future locals will be more supportive #moody," wrote one Manx tweeter. Another writer questioned bookers' taste in "outdated bands". "You can't call acts like Paloma Faith, Wretch32 or Laura Mvula outdated," a spokesperson replied, "and Primal Scream and Johnny Marr are legends. #justsaying".

This was to be the first Isle of Man Music festival, which billed itself as a northern alternative to Bestival or Isle of Wight festival. Around 15,000 people were expected to buy day tickets, with camping, glamping, and the island's largest-ever dance arena. Refunds are available at the point of purchase.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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