Student performers reflect on cancellation of festival

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats performs Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017 on LouFest’s Bud Light Stage. Photo by Josie Krueger

For one weekend in September, Forest Park is transformed into a vibrant celebration of St. Louis and music.

LouFest is a music festival that first took place in 2010. Wilco, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, The 1975 and Weezer are several past performers.

LouFest attendee senior Ben Ortinau said, “It’s a great opportunity for local people to put their brands and their music out there.”

The 2018 lineup featured Robert Plant, Modest Mouse, The Head and the Heart and Kacey Musgraves. Several students were also set to perform.

On Sept. 5, just days before the start of the festival, LouFest announced over social media that it would not take place in 2018.

In a letter addressed to St. Louis, the LouFest website cites “financial hurdles,” “unfortunately timed media coverage” and the “fickle St. Louis weather” for the late cancellation.

Senior Owen Ragland, who was supposed to perform on Sunday Sept. 9 with his band, The Owen Ragland Quintet, said, “I was definitely disappointed. I think my initial reaction was really just what happened.”

Juniors Jameson Mechem and Alice Gillibrand were also set to perform at the festival with the School of Rock in Kirkwood.

Mechem said, “I was pretty upset because LouFest is a pretty big gig for people our age to be playing, but I wasn’t devastated or anything… we have gigs for the next few months planned.”

Amidst the confusion, St. Louis turned what could have been anger into a celebration.

Almost immediately following the cancellation, announcements were made by vendors and acts supposed to be performing at LouFest. The Sound of St. Louis Showcase and Arch Fest popped up, featuring local acts and vendors who were affected by the cancellation. The Head and the Heart scheduled a spontaneous show at Delmar Hall on Sept. 9.

Ragland, who is going to convert his set written for Loufest into an album, said, “I think it affected local talent a lot, just in general… but I think that what’s cool is that the scene itself has kind of recognized that and try to figure out some of the issues.”

See Also: Voices of Webster: September 28, 2018

Lindsey Bennett – Feature Editor

This is feature editor Lindsey Bennett’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year. She has attended JournalismSTL’s Spring Conference and MIPA’s J-Day.


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