A major new music festival due to bring crowds to the Western Isles has been cancelled just days before its launch.
The Midnight Sun Weekender, which was set to be headlined by Primal Scream and the Pretenders, has been called off after it failed to sell enough tickets – which started at £79 for the three-day event.
In a statement, the organisers said they were “heartbroken” that “circumstances outwith our control” had led them to cancel.
“Rising costs and limited availability on festival infrastructure, as well as the cost of living crisis having an impact on ticket sales means that we are not in the position to deliver the event that we had hoped to bring to our beautiful island,” a statement said.
Midnight Sun was set to be the first festival completely powered by green energy sources hosted in the Lewis Castle Green this month, between May 25 and May 27.
It had been billed as three days of music at one of the most idyllic locations in the UK – “a festival of the kind dreams are made of”.
It was going to be opened with UK headline exclusive rock band The Pretenders, treating revellers to classics like Talk Of The Town, Kid, 2000 Miles, and Back On The Chain Gang – alongside upcoming new tunes.
Scottish band Primal Scream was to headline the event’s second day, storming Lewis Castle with Screamdelica classics, XTRMNTR cuts and unexpected hoedown hits like Country Girl.
Supporting sets were to come from longstanding Britpop hits Ocean Colour Scene fresh off some reunion shows, alongside Spiritualized, The Lewis Allstars, Public Service Broadcasting, Edwyn Collins, and plenty more.
Intending to address the gender imbalance in the industry, Midnight Sun said it guaranteed a 45%:55% female to male ratio of performers across the weekend.
“As organisers, we have tried everything we can to overcome the challenges we have faced to stage this event, however it has become impossible for us to move forward,” said the festival’s director Ian MacArthur.
“We are deeply disappointed to confirm this news, especially at this late stage and would like to reassure our customers that anyone who has purchased tickets will be able to claim a refund.
“We deeply regret the impact this cancellation will have on the local retail and hospitality sector and the economic impact overall to Stornoway but would like to thank the Safety Advisory Group, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Stornoway Trust, Breedon Hebrides, Stornoway Port Authority, Scottish, Scottish Water and Woody’s Express for all their support to us over recent weeks and months.”
The festival said information on the refund process would be mailed out to ticket buyers in the next 48 hours.
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