This evening, Wildfire have announced that 2018’s incarnation of the festival, which was scheduled for 22-24 June, will not be going ahead. The full statement from director Dave Ritchie reads as follows:
It is with a very heavy heart and no end of disappointment that I have decided to cancel this years Wildfire Festival. This will come as a shock to many and indeed to me. I have been working hard over the past few weeks to try and ensure this years event goes ahead, but I cannot make it work at the current location and with the infrastructure costs that have increased year on year. That coupled with the fact that a large percentage of our ticket sales only happen a few weeks before the event, means that I cannot meet all the financial commitments and deadlines in 2018 so I need a rethink.
I have spent the last 7 years building this event at considerable cost, financially, at times to the detriment of my health and it has put a large strain on my family. I have no option other that to take a time out in 2018.
I will be talking with all those involved in the support of and running of the event with a view to determining where we go in the future.
I know this will cause many people, many problems and I can only apologise for that. I have worked tirelessly to try and keep the event going but as I say, perhaps not in the current format.
I need a bit of time to rethink this and in these days of social media will no doubt be in for a bit of flack, however I would respectfully ask that you afford me a little time to consider my next move. I would also ask that all issues, enquiries and questions are directed to me via email and not through social media as I will be leaving the main platforms for the next few weeks.
I would like to thank everyone who has supported and attended Les-Fest and then Wildfire it has been truly appreciated. I am so genuinely sorry, I have let many people down including family and the many people I now consider friends.
I think I speak on behalf of our entire crew when I say we’re sorry and any support we can lend to Dave and his team, know that we’re more than willing to extend it. It’s a festival that as a site and individuals we’ve always looked forward to. Certainly in the last couple of years, I’ve enjoyed myself as Wiston far more than Download. Anyone who’s ever read anything on our pages in these last few years about Wildfire knows how much we love the weekend between its location, fantastic atmosphere and a line-up which seems to get better with every year. As value for money tickets go, you just can’t beat it.
We’ve not just reviewed and spread the word of the latest announcements, we’ve been involved in the weeds of it. Last year we had our own stage and as our Editor-in-Chief will tell you, he knows how much strain organising an event like this is since he sorted everything for our stage and could see what the main stage and general arrangements put Dave through. As well as this, in the last couple of weeks, we’ve been running our #RoadToWildfire2018 series like we do with Bloodstock every year. So many bands jumped at the chance to answer our questions and one thing was apparent in every band who answered the questions so far: they were looking forward to returning or playing for the first time as they’d heard great things via word-of-mouth. Out of respect, the remainder we had due to post, we won’t be running them. To the bands, managers and PRs we’ve worked with in this series – thank you. Those who were still to answer, we hope you respect the decision.
On a personal standpoint: I’m gutted two-fold. I always look forward to spending the weekend at Wiston as some of my favourite bands have graced the stage and I’ve made some excellent discoveries. I even went to the festival when it was called Les-Fest at its old site and even though it was in what was, essentially, a community hall, there was still a great time to be had. Moreso than that, I’m gutted for the bands. Why? Because Wildfire gave bands the opportunity to play they otherwise wouldn’t. They’d make that 8 hour drive from Wales or they’d come half an hour from Glasgow for the opportunity to play to people who were passionate about rock music. The bands and fans didn’t care they weren’t in the Hydro but both fans and bands got behind it because the quality of music is just as high as those bands selling out arenas. Actually, in many instances, they’re better.
When, and I say that because I fully believe it’s a case of when and not if, Wildfire returns, know that we’ll be behind it as strongly as we’ve ever been.