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Harmony Festival Cancelled for 2012

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 | Comments (12)


Talk has been swirling for weeks, and now, it’s been made official: After 33 years, there will be no Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa in 2012.

The full announcement from Harmony Festival CEO Howard “Bo” Sapper is below, and it looks like the decision wasn’t made lightly. Harmony Festival organizers “spent many months creatively exploring dozens of promising options” to keep the festival alive, Sapper writes, but to no apparent avail. “We know this news is a great disappointment to the entire Harmony team and the community at large,” Sapper writes. “We share your feelings of disappointment.”

So far, this is only a postponement—the festival is not necessarily permanently cancelled. In an egalatarian move worthy of the festival’s aims, organizers have set up a website, www.harmonyfestivalonline.com, to collect ideas about the future of the festival from the fans and extended community. “We are looking ahead to the annual Harmony Festival in 2013,” it reads.

Obviously, this is sad news for many. Official announcement below.

Dear Harmony Festival Family,

On behalf of the Harmony Festival Board of Directors and management team, we sincerely thank you for your continued support and encouragement as we grew and evolved the Harmony Festival from a grassroots community event in 1978, into the nationally renown music, arts and cultural festival—that you’ve come to expect year after year.

It is with a deep sense of regret that we announce that after 33 years we will not be producing a Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, CA in June 2012. As you can imagine, this is a very difficult announcement for us to make. We appreciate your patience as we took the necessary time to prepare a thoughtful message to inform the greater Harmony community of our decision, which is now effective immediately.

You might ask why we made this decision. Please trust that we have spent many months creatively exploring dozens of promising options in the hopes that we could keep this magical event alive this year. We know this news is a great disappointment to the entire Harmony team and the community at large, and we share your feelings of disappointment. We ask that we work together to move beyond this stage, toward hope and optimism for future Harmony Festivals.

We are working on plans to reorganize the company and the possibility of creating Harmony Festivals in the future. We are counting on engaging YOUR support and participation going forward as we re-envision a sustainable future for the festival. We also ask that you assist in communicating this message within your own community, in the most positive light possible.

We welcome your comments and feedback via our new blog www.harmonyfestivalonline.com and look forward to the possibility of rekindling the Harmony Festival flame so it shines even more brightly again in the future.

Respectfully,
Howard “Bo” Sapper, CEO Harmony Festival, Inc.


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12 comments

  1. Jana
    March 29, 2012

    “You might ask why we made this decision.”

    Love the absolute lack of explanation afterward. Is it so scandalous to share that it’s financial or permit issues?

    Reply
  2. JV
    March 29, 2012

    I’m curious as to why they give no explanation as to why. Then I read a post from a contributing artist from last year who claims to still have not been paid. Something’s fishy if you ask me. L. Clark best get on the case.

    Reply
  3. David
    March 29, 2012

    2012 really is the end of the world as we know it.

    Reply
  4. Steve
    March 29, 2012

    Very sad news indeed.

    Reply
  5. Theresa
    March 29, 2012

    I am one of those artists. I have had 3 telephone conversations (upon my initiative) about the delinquent debt with Howard Sapper, the CEO. He did pay 10% of the agreed upon fee for my groups presentation but that is all we will probably ever receive. This after 4 days of set-up, participation and tear-down. As a self employed person, every job counts. I don’t ask my suppliers to work for free and I don’t order good or services without expecting to pay for them. I can’t help but wonder if the financial breakdown of the organization was not well known internally and perhaps there was never an intent to pay. Paranoid? Maybe, but there is no way for us to re-coup our participation and they did, in fact have their event. I resent that we, as small, LOCAL artists are the last in the soup line. So much for community.

    Reply
  6. Lynne707
    March 29, 2012

    What, you money grubbers are not making enough having raised prices almost every year, so you cannot make enough so you just up a postpone this yearly event? Try not to make as much $$$ and live with it. Just like everything friggin’ else if you don’t make it you postpone or cancel. Well guess fucking what, you’ve effectively lost us as fans of this yearly funfest.

    Reply
  7. JV
    March 29, 2012

    this is what is apparently taking its place. back to the old model, it seems.
    http://www.highervisionpresents.com/

    Reply
  8. T
    March 29, 2012

    Here’s a link to an article in the press democrat with a little more detailed info. The festival organizers claim they lost $500,000 due to a combination of lower then hoped ticket sales and a $120,000 ticket scalping/credit card scam. I’ve also heard there may be ownership litigation going on but this may not be true.
    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120329/ARTICLES/120329476/1033/news?Title=No-Harmony-fest-this-year
    Ticket prices have gone up but the entertainment line up has been great the past few years. $45 bucks is fair, in my opinion, for a 1 day ticket with that strong a line up.
    Sorry to hear some artists didn’t get paid. I hope the organizers didn’t take a $200K salary each before deciding who not to pay-although it wouldn’t surprise me.

    Reply
  9. Anony Mouse
    March 30, 2012

    I am also a vendor who was completely screwed in 2011. I am sure I am one of many.

    Reply
    • T
      March 30, 2012

      For many years Harmony overbooked vendors in search of revenue. It’s their MO. There might be 8 other people selling a similar product but even when 50% or more of their vendors lose money, they always seem to find a new group of people to fill the space. Hopefully DG lost some money this time.

      Reply
  10. David
    March 30, 2012

    I for one am glad. That festival was horribly managed year after year. I remember negotiating for weeks about booth space in exchange for performance by a prominent artist, due to Harmony not wanting to pay anything. When we got there day of, nobody even had us on the list. Another vendor let us in their booth space!

    Reply
  11. Samba
    June 27, 2012

    Whatever happened in 2011 may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. But the festival has for years been trying to grow by spending a lot of money on big-name acts intended to draw in people beyond the rainbow counterculture of its roots. This process has also alienated the surrounding community. This is bad management, plain and simple. It’s really a shame because it was a very fine event, with wonderful good spirit.

    I stopped going in 2010. Previously I had been paid to perform, in addition to receiving two passes for the weekend. Then it was just the passes. Then for 2010 we were offered just day passes for the day we played, no partner pass at all – not even discounted. This is is for a prime-time slot on the second biggest stage. I also know that there are people who have been owed thousands for many years.

    Reply

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