John Soeder from the Plain Dealer broke the news today that The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has canceled this year’s CMJ/Cleveland due to the amount of work and resources it took to put on the yearly festival, as well as the additional burden to the hall’s staff.
“Overall, we felt good about the program, but . . . the resources it took for us to produce it were larger than we could bear,” said Todd Mesek, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s vice president of marketing and communications.
Mesek declined to reveal the cost of mounting the festival, which was partly underwritten by sponsors.
The event put a strain on Rock Hall staffers, too.
“On top of their day jobs here, they had to run the festival,” Mesek said. “They weren’t getting paid extra.”
Nice. In other words, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame didn’t want to do the work that was required to make this happen. It’s just further proof that the Rock Hall is not dedicated to the local music community.
Quick, name another hall of fame who holds their induction ceremonies other than the hall of fame’s home. Baseball could make their induction ceremony into a gigantic event if it was in NYC, but i’s home and its ceremony is in Cooperstown. Surely, the NFL could do the same, yet their yearly induction ceremony is held in Canton. The Rock Hall finally shows the community that they’re serious about Cleveland by putting on a small music festival, and then decide it’s too much work. This is insulting.
I don’t think any of us thought that this would some day rival CMJ/NY or SXSW. We just wanted a yearly music event in the city of Cleveland that we could be proud of. Earlier comments by The Hall of Fame signaled that they wanted to start with a small festival, and work on slowly building the festival into something bigger. Notice, how that sentence implies a certain amount of work on behalf of the organizers. Work, that they no longer want to do.
I could handle reasons like we were losing money (the Hall of Fame did not release any financial details), or there was lack of interest in the community (attendance was up in the past year), but neither of these reasons were cited. Instead, the Hall of Fame, takes the easy way out. Now, how hard would it have been for the Rock Hall to ask for volunteers from the local music scene to do the work that was so overtaxing for their own staff. Did they even make the effort? If they had, they would surely have found out that there would have been more than enough people who would have put in the time and effort to ensure the festival’s viability.
To Mesek’s credit, he did say that the Rock Hall is looking to step up programs for the local community (including more free summer shows at the Rock Hall) and is also looking for ways where they work with local clubs to promote music in the city. It makes for a nice sound bite, and it softens the blow a bit, but I’m more than a little skeptical of his claims.