“It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Homebake 2013 has been cancelled.”

So reads the shock news from festival organisers, delivered this morning.

The long-running Australian music festival was set to celebrate its 18th birthday this December at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House in conjunction with the iconic venue’s 40th Anniversary.

Three days’ worth of big-name Aussie acts, the likes of You Am I, Bernard Fanning, Paul Kelly, Gurrumul, The Presets, and many more, were locked in for the Homebake 2013 lineup, but now the entire event has been scrapped just two months shy of its kick-off.

A statement from festival organisers today explains that difficulties with securing Homebake’s regular location at the Domain contributed to the Opera House move and subsequent cancellation, triggered by losing out booking the site to another festival.

“Homebake 2013 has proven to be a difficult beast to produce and promote due to scheduling issues with our ancestral home at the Domain,” explain organisers.

The statement continues: “For reasons beyond our control or desire, and after a 15 year run, we were advised that for this year, the Domain had also confirmed another music festival that appealed to a similar audience and scheduled to run a mere 2 weeks before our proposed Homebake date.” “What is achingly ironic is the reason that forced the change in venue [and with it the format] cancelled shortly before Homebake 2013’s launch, but by then it was simply too late…”

The ‘other festival’, is likely referring to the now-cancelled Harvest festival, which was originally set to host its Sydney leg at the Domain for the first time on 16th November until its untimely demise.

“Because of the commercial implications and risk of being one of two music festivals in the Domain two weeks apart, reluctantly our hand was forced to reconfigure and relocate Homebake from the usual one day event in the Domain to the Sydney Opera House over three days,” explain Homebake organisers, but despite the reconfiguration, it did not spark enough interest in the buying public.

“Over the last 4 weeks since the initial launch of Homebake 2013, it has become apparent based on the feedback from social media sites and the box office that the traditional Homebake fans have rejected this change in format from one day to three nights and the change in venue.”

“What is achingly ironic is the reason that forced the change in venue [and with it the format] cancelled shortly before Homebake 2013’s launch, but by then it was simply too late to revert back to our true home. All in all, heartbreaking stuff…”

The statement also apologises to punters – promising refunds will be issued by Sydney Opera House and OzTix – as well as the bands, and “the hard working Homebake personnel.”

There is no mention of Homebake’s future plans, but the statement concludes: “we would like to thank everyone for their input, support and contribution over the last 18 years in helping to shape HOMEBAKE as the premiere live showcase for our country’s finest musicians. Long live Australian music and the artists that create it.”

Homebake’s cancellation is the latest in a worrying list of music festival troubles in recent months. Last month alone, there was the cancellation of Harvest and Pyramid Rock and Big Day Out’s second Sydney date due to poor ticket sales, as well as issues with the inaugural Boomerang and ATP’s Release The Bats.

Then there’s the likely cancellation of Summadayze as messy liquidation proceedings get underway for Future Entertainment Pty Ltd, as their flagship Future Music Festival is taken under the wing of Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group.

Fat As Butter kicks off this weekend, while festival promoters Mothership Music enter liquidation, and then there’s the alarming number of troubled hip hop festivals and events, including the cancellation of Live Nation’s Movement festival,Sprung’s Melbourne leg, the Rap City tour, and Supafest’s postponement, amidst $17 m owed to creditors and a touted relaunch.

This week also saw reports surfacing that Big Day Out’s future was in jeopardy and looking down the barrel of a $10 million loss next year, only for the festival’s top brass lashing out at Fairfax journalists, rubbishing the reports of its financial troubles.

Homebake 2013 Lineup

Friday 6 December, Saturday 7 December and Sunday 8 December, 2013
Sydney Opera House Forecourt and surrounds

Gates Open: 4.00pm

Paul Kelly, Gurrumul, Eskimo Joe, Vance Joy, Thelma Plum and Sheppard

Gates Open: 2.00pm

The Presets, The Cat Empire, Architecture In Helsinki, The Aston Shuffle, Way Of The Eagle (featuring guest performers Dan Sultan, Daniel Merriweather, Amy Findlay, Harry Angus & Lachlan Mitchell), Deep Sea Arcade and Bam Bam

Gates Open: 2.00pm

Birds of Tokyo, Bernard Fanning, The Rubens, You Am I, Beasts Of Bourbon, Kingswood and Courtney Barnett
Plus Comedy, Bars, Great Food & Markets

www.homebake.com (this service is provided by Oztix – http://www.oztix.com.au)

* Sydney Opera House Box Office – Ph: 02 9250 7777 and www.sydneyoperahouse.com

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