Still, the Warped Tour is a unique success story. With a tanking economy and high gas prices as additional burdens on promoters, the risks in creating a financially flush festival in our current climate are real. This is especially true, given the wealth of choices showgoers have within one geographic area. In the next couple months, the Bay Area alone will host the Download Festival, Rock the Bells, Outside Lands, Treasure Island Music Festival, Warped Tour, and Slow Food Rocks (a two-day component of Slow Food Nation with Gnarls Barkley, Ozomatli, and the New Pornographers, among others).
"When there's a good idea, there's always market saturation," says Jordan Kurland, who works with Noise Pop and the Treasure Island Music Festival. "It happens in every industry, and the entertainment industry is particularly bad at it." This year the Vineland Festival in New Jersey bit the dust before it even started, canceling its August date because of regional conflicts the same weekend with All Points West (also in New Jersey) and the Virgin Festival in Baltimore.
In the end, some local promoters hope that just as the demise of the traveling festivals begat a robust regional scene, competition for destination concerts will sift out the weak to create a more stable live music industry as a whole. "I think festivals are gonna find their own level," says Another Planet's Scott, "and the festivals that survive are the ones that are able to provide a unique experience, get the right talent for that region, and then it's about location, location, location. Those are the festivals that are going to be around for a long time."