The Black Crowes perform at Dfest 2009 in Tulsa. (Photo by Stephen Holman/Tulsa World Archives)
Dfest, the popular downtown Tulsa music festival started in 2002 as a showcase for local, regional and national acts will go on hiatus this year, reports my colleague George Lang of Staticblog.
Co-founder Tom Green cited the economic downturn and a decrease in corporate sponsorship as key reasons why the festival, originally scheduled for late July, in now suspended.
“A tough economy, rising production costs and a decline in lower level corporate sponsorships and support have caused us to take pause,” Green said in a prepared statement. ” These factors have made us unable to produce the kind of event we are known for, so we are unable to move forward with the festival this year. At the point we knew that we had exhausted any and all options and head into July 2010 with full steam, we decided to postpone the event on our own terms. The integrity and quality of Dfest is of the utmost importance to us as the creators of the event.”
In recent years, Dfest emerged as a key summer event in Oklahoma, and the past three years saw a progression in the quality of national acts playing the event’s main stage. In 2009, bands The Black Crowes, Cake and Blue October were among the headliners, and the lineup also included critical darlings like Gogol Bordello, Ra Ra Riot and Rooney as well as Oklahoma artists like Ali Harter, Other Lives and the Uglysuit
Dfest also featured a music conference showcasing industry professionals discussing issues facing rising musicians and strategies for success.
The event was particularly important for Oklahoma musicians: At Dfest 2009, 160 acts performed, most of whom live, work and perform in Oklahoma.
Last year, Dfest attracted more than 70,000 festivalgoers. Unless organizers are able to revive the event in 2011, the absence of the tw0-day festival will leave a significant cultural and economic void, particularly for the Tulsa area.
Dfest becomes the second major Oklahoma music festival to be canceled for this summer. Organizers announced in March that Country Fever, the outdoor country music event near Pryor, will idle in 2010 “amidst a challenging economy.” Country Fever organizers said in a news release they planned to “take a year off in order to re-assess the direction of the event.”