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HullabaLOU Music Fest a $5 million financial loss

on August 05, 2010, 4:25pm

Bon Jovi. Kenny Chesney. Dave Matthews Band. With headliners like that, combined with acts like Gladys Knight and the B 52s to add in a healthy dose of nostalgia, where can you go wrong? Apparently in at least one factor, sadly.

Churchill Downs Inc. recently announced that HullabaLOU, their foray into the world of music festivals, lost quite a bit more money than they had expected it to. In their quarterly earnings report released August 4th, the company revealed that the festival had led to a $5 million lost. Though they had already predicted a loss, said prediction was between $2 million and $3 million.

What went wrong? The company cites a few possible reasons. The first would be the weather: 95-plus degree temperatures can tend to be a deterrent to a brand new festival without any loyal following. The other reason given doesn’t have to do with HullabaLOU specifically itself, but with concerts recently as a whole. In a Thursday conference call with investors and analysts, Churchill Downs President Robert Evans mentioned a 17% decline in concert ticket sales nationally through June.

The event may have caused a fairly sizable financial loss and a lower turnout than desired (approximately 78,000 fans rather than the 100,000 they were hoping for), but Churchill Downs doesn’t seem to be all that deterred. Another HullabaLOU is planned for next year, though they’re planning on reviewing the timing, number of days, talent lineup, among other things. “We will go back and just relook at what worked, what didn’t work and figure out how do we make it a great experience, and [still] be able to make money at the same time,” Chief Financial Officer Bill Mudd said. Let’s just wish them the best of luck.

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