There’s been some worrying signs in the Australian music festival market of late.

In just under two weeks, Pyramid Rock have announced the cancellation of its 2013 edition, the inaugural Boomerang Festival has faced an uphill battle, while concert promoters such as Fat As Butter, and companies tied to Future Entertainment and Andrew McManus have all entered liquidation.

All of which made festival promoter AJ Maddah – who handles Soundwave, Harvest, and the return of the Vans Warped Tour this December – look all the more impervious to the struggles other festivals are facing. Rumours of a hip hop event event suggested that Maddah wasn’t adverse to adding to his already demanding festival repertoire, but it now appears that he’s at capacity as it is.

In a series of disarming comments overnight, the promoter admits he is having a “crisis of confidence” about this November’s Harvest 2013, as FasterLouder reports, revealing through a series of tweets that tickets to the boutique arts and music event, entering its third edition this year, have slowed significantly.

“Which is understandable tbh. As a small boutique festival with emphasis on arts & experience we can’t compete,” Maddah writes, adding that: “We’re heartbroken seeing our favourite child get sickly and are doing everything to make it work.”

The Harvest promoter also blames a “lack of interest, particularly in Brisbane,” for the slow ticket sales. When asked if the situation was dire enough to consider pulling the plug on the event, which features a lineup of Massive Attack, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp, and more, Maddah replied:

There is still however, the second lineup announcement for the boutique festival, which was set to include the Justin Vernon-fronted Volcano Choir until they leaked their place on the bill. Maddah teased back in July that the second round of artist additions to the Harvest 2013 bill would be the festival’s biggest yet, but now that “crisis of confidence” comes through clear, noting that either ticket sales must pick up from the second lineup announcement, “or we have dug an even deeper hole… That’s what I am trying to decide atm,” says Maddah.

Since the first Harvest 2013 lineup was announced in June – featuring the reunited Neutral Milk Hotel, CSS, Primus, M. Ward, The Eels, Superchunk, The Drones, and more – many other major Aussie music festivals have revealed their own indie-centric lineups, such as Big Day Out’s triple headlining bill – as Maddah points out – of Arcade Fire, Blur, and Pearl Jam, along with The Lumineers, Grouplove, Portugal The Man, Toro Y Moi, Tame Impala, and DIIV.

Falls Festival has a very indie-friendly lineup also, with the twin Brooklyn poles of alt-royalty – Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear – topping a bill that features The Roots, MGMT, !!!, London Grammar, Solange, The War On Drugs, and more.

Meanwhile the Melbourne Festival 2013 lineup, which was curated by former Harvest booker Declan Forde, features many bands that are unsurprisingly ‘Harvest-centric’, including Yo La Tengo, Active Child, The Polyphonic Spree, The Handsome Family, and The Cinematic Orchestra.

Harvest hasn’t been without it issues before, but after vowing to fix the teething organisational problems of the festival’s 2011 debut (particularly in Melbourne), organisers more than made up for it, leading to a winning second outing last year, while estival-goers exhibited good will that the new festival was a concept worth supporting.Whether due to economic strain, competition from bigger lineups, ‘festival fatigue’ or a combination of all three, the good will has not translated to Harvest 2013 ticket sales.

The second Harvest 2013 lineup announcement was originally expected to land sometime this week, with Harvest Festival sideshows expected to be announced shortly after. In the tradition of previous years, the sideshows would feature co-headline shows in the cities outside of Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne where Harvest takes place. Reports suggest potential sideshows from Franz FerdinandEelsNeutral Milk HotelGoldfrapp, and Primus.

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