In “An Open Letter to Critics” released this week, Lilith Fair co-founder Terry McBride blasted bloggers and members of the press who he believes have disrespected the event by unfairly focusing on some of the cancellations and minor logistical problems.
“I have been amazed at the feeding frenzy of negativity by the media and bloggers around Lilith Fair,” McBride wrote in the letter, which was published by several media outlets. “Such attacks are normally seen in the theatre of partisan politics that have poisoned western society. What drives the passion to write negative and speculative commentary on what is a socially positive and giving festival? Why this desire to hurt and demean the efforts of thousands of people whom simply want to give back and make our society a better place?”
He added, “It’s amazing to me that I did not see one of these outspoken critics at the opening show. How can one accurately report on, or even understand what Lilith is, without experiencing it?”
McBride acknowledged that there have been some problems that many touring festivals face, but speaking of the kick-off of the Lilith tour at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alberta he said “the main complaint in Calgary was long line-ups to get in. Well, the venue cut back on staff thinking no one would show up. I’m not sure where they got that idea? The critics in Calgary criticize Lilith for a situation they created, which is ironic to say the least.” In fact, Shelley Arnusch, reporting for USA Today on June 28, raved about the turnout and the performances in Calgary, giving credence to McBride’s faith in a great audience.
Several music acts and festivals have had to cancel some dates, or whole tours, this summer as the country remains in the grip of a slow economy. In some cases, artists have substituted European dates for U.S. ones, or they have postponed their tours until 2011.
Lilith Fair has cut close to a dozen shows from its 36-date tour, and some artists have had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Numerous factors account for this difficult summer for festivals like Lilith Fair, such as costs associated with concert attendance, which can top $200 per person when concessions and merchandise are included.
McBride apologized to fans for the cancellations and other issues, and said the press has missed the boat on what makes the event, which celebrates women in music, so special.
“Lilith goes well beyond being a Music Festival with success measured by ticket sales; it’s a social and community Festival. I have seen little to no media on the Local Woman’s charities and how the community selected them. What’s with that??? Just saying they get a dollar per ticket is not enough, get in there and dig into what these charities are doing to make your city a much better place to live,” he wrote.