Following the cancellation of Rap City 2013 and the $17 m financial troubles facing Supafest amidst a touted relaunch, Australia’s dreaded hip hop curse seems to have struck again…

The Sprung hip hop festival has cancelled its debut Melbourne leg following issues with approval over the festival site and local authorities, forcing promoters into pulling the plug on the event.

Despite another successful annual showing in its native Brisbane leg over the weekend, Sprung’s first-ever expansion to Melbourne was to take place on Saturday 19th October at the Kevin Bartlett Sports Complex, but has been scrapped by promoters Clockwork Entertainment, as The Music reports.

Artists on the Sprung lineup – including 360, Seth Sentry, Drapht, Urthboy, Pez, and more – had reportedly been notified yesterday of the cancellation by Clockwork Entertainment, owing to financial issues with the venue and troubles with gaining support from police and security over festival approval.

A statement issued by Clockwork Entertainment notes that: “despite agreements with the Yarra City Council and agreeing to all conditions on provisional liquor license, due to issues raised by the Divisional Planning Unit, North West Metropolitan Region, the Victorian Police have withdrawn their support for the event. This has left the Yarra City Council with little to no choice but to withdraw all support for the applications and therefore rescind the event permits.”

The statement continues to note that Clock have “prided themselves on the safety and the constant working relationship with the Queensland police” over three successful years of Sprung up in Brisbane, but “despite every effort to satisfy all the stakeholders involved and the Victorian Police, there has been no compromise.”

Emergency negotiations were held to hold Sprung at an alternate venue to the Kevin Bartlett Sports Centre, but with less than four weeks until the event’s kick to obtain new permits and licenses – along with planning and scheduling – the promoters’ collective hand has been forced to axe the Melbourne leg.

The situation has “unfortunately left the event in a state where the promoters do not believe that they can deliver the quality of show that has been successfully held at our sister event in Brisbane for the past two years and again last week,” state promoters.

“Sprung Festival wishes to thank all involved in attempting to source an emergency venue and the necessary event permissions for their co-operation. We also wish to apologise to all artists, management, agents and crew involved in Sprung Festival 2013 and thank you for your support in this difficult time,” they write. “We sincerely apologise for the disappointment to anyone who currently has a ticket to Sprung Festival in Melbourne. Contact will be made by the appropriate ticket provider to any ticket purchaser and full refunds can be obtained from the place of purchase.”

It’s a sad turn of events for Sprung organisers, who initially defied the troubled series of cancelled hip hop events in Australia when first announcing its plans to debut in Melbourne back in June.

“We’re a very small company so growth has to be dictated by how successful we are… growth has been right where we need it to be, so we’re very happy,” said Clockwork Entertainment promoter Greg Connors at the time of the festival expansion, adding that the Melbourne expansion “was a logical choice… they love hip hop [there].”

Read Tone Deaf’s coverage of last weekend’s Sprung Festival in Brisbane here and check out our photo gallery here.

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