Last year’s X-Fest, headlined by Offspring and Pennywise at the Concerts on the Green facility near Qualcomm, may have ended the event’s 25-year run.
When it became clear that 91X would not bring back X-Fest this May, 91X staffers told listeners that the alt-rock festival would be held in August or September. Now they’re saying X-Fest is probably not going to happen in 2009.
“They have no money,” says a former 91X employee. “Plus, back in the glory days, it was just 91X and KGB. Radio revenue is down for everybody, but now you have 91X as the fourth of four stations that play new rock.”
The latest Arbitron ratings show Rock 105.3 in 9th place among all listeners, 94/9 in 16th, KPRI in 17th, and 91X in 20th.
General manager Trip Reeb would not respond to a request for comment about why 91X is postponing its annual event indefinitely.
“It’s just easier for [91X] to piggyback on other concerts,” says one promoter. “They are hanging their name on the Del Mar racetrack concerts and on the Warped Tour, which they are presenting. But they don’t want to risk losing money on their own shows.”
In previous years, promoters such as AEG have backed X-Fest, assuming all the financial risks and booking the bands. This year neither Live Nation nor AEG offered to step up.
“Radio is not as relevant as it used to be,” says one longtime promoter. “Your major concert promoters are struggling like everyone else, and they just don’t see the benefit in partnering with 91X just for the free radio ads.”
One 91X competitor managed to stage its own multi-band concert in June: FM 94/9 acted as the promoter for Independence Jam at the Oceanside Amphitheatre, which featured national acts the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Black Keys as well as local bands. “We sold out in a week and a half,” says 94/9 program director Garett Michaels, who adds that 91X didn’t do itself a favor when it had emo darlings My Chemical Romance headline its ’06 Christmas concert. “They have swung to whatever bad flavor of the month is happening at the time, from that awful rap-rock to corporate rock to emo. Now they are just trying to copy KROQ in L.A.”