It seemed like all the right cards were in place for the 10th Anniversary Rock the Bells. In 2013, the traveling fest had expanded to a two-day event with three stages, hitting up both coasts with shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York City. The lineup was pretty killer too: J. Cole, Wale, Black Hippy and Wu-Tang Clan, the latter whose set would feature a resurrected Ol' Dirty Bastard via hologram. But Rock the Bells wouldn't become the fairy tale it was meant to be. 48-hours before its third stop in D.C., promoters Guerilla Union canceled both the D.C. and New York City dates due to low ticket sales.
"It wasn't the cost of the holograms that killed Rock the Bells, or anything like that," promises Guerilla Union founder Chang Weisberg in a sit down for cameras, where he addresses fans directly about the cancellation.
"The bigger reasons, the macro-version," says Weisberg, "there were a lot of great shows that were out touring in our same time period; that could be a factor. The fact that Jay-Z was on sale, the fact that Kanye was on sale, the fact that Drake was on sale; there were just a lot of great hip-hop shows, and I wish all of them well. I think competition increases the market, and I'm happy that all these acts can be touring, and ultimately, maybe, that was one of the issues."
Weisberg goes on to say that "maybe the vision was too great" with the two-day events planned for DC and NYC. "I didn't want to do the baby version of Rock the Bells for the East Coast, and I take full responsibility for that," he adds.
But, Rock the Bells is not dead, according to Weisberg. He and his team are going back to the drawing board and re-evaluating things for a bigger and badder 2014 event and have already confirmed a headliner for next year.
"The fans are the most vital part of the festival--without your passion, energy and support, we are nothing," adds Guerilla Union. "We are listening to your comments, learning from what has transpired, and taking it with us as we move forward. Be there with us."
Watch Weisberg's official statement on the 2013 Rock The Bells cancellation and return in 2014 below.