Big Barrel Country Music Festival canceled

DOVER – Promoters Red Frog Events and Goldenvoice announced Thursday afternoon that the Big Barrel Country Music Festival, set for June 24-26 at the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, has been canceled.

Dover Motorsports Inc. President Michael Tatoian said Thursday afternoon that the decision came without warning earlier in the day.

“I received a call from Red Frog this morning telling me that Goldenvoice had made the decision to cancel Big Barrel,” he said. “And with that, you know as much as I know.”

Tatoian, Michael by .

Michael Tatoian

A note on the festival’s website reads as follows: “We have made the difficult decision to cancel Big Barrel Country Music Festival, due to take place at The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware on June 24-26, 2016.

“We sincerely apologize to all the people this decision affects: the fans, artists, industry partners, venue, city of Dover and state of Delaware; all of whom welcomed us with open arms for our inaugural festival in 2015.

“Ticket purchasers will automatically receive full refunds, including all service charges, beginning this Monday, February 1st 2016.”

The fifth annual Firefly Music Festival, set for the week before at the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, will still take place.

In a phone interview, Mr. Tatoian expressed his disappointment and surprise at the announcement.

“We are the host. They rent the property from us. It was their business decision. We don’t have any input. They are the owners of the festival,” he said.

The speedway hosted the inaugural festival last year, which drew an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 people and featured headliners such as Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood.

“We were an enthusiastic host. We’ve proven that Firefly is terrific and its a unique venue. We had similar attendance numbers in Firefly’s first year and were certainly hoping that Big Barrel would follow the same path,” he said.

“We had no indication that this was coming.”

It is Mr. Tatoian’s understanding that Big Barrel has been canceled permanently.

“You never know with the ebbs and flows of the music business but I would say it’s safe to assume that the festival will not be back anytime soon,” he said.

Spokeswomen Lauren King, of Chicago-based Red Frog Events, and Lindsay Lyons, of California’s Goldenvoice, creators of the highly successful Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California, both said Thursday afternoon that neither would have further comment other than what had been previously posted on the Big Barrel website.

Announced Oct. 26 with tickets going on sale Oct. 30, the second annual event was to have featured acts such as Brad Paisley, Hank Williams Jr., Eric Church, Emmylou Harris, Sam Hunt, Martina McBride and Travis Tritt.

Cindy Thurman, of Dover, attended Big Barrel last year and was looking forward to the event in 2016.

“I could not wait to buy my ticket this year when I heard the lineup. In fact, I think I purchased my ticket the day they went one sale along with others locally,” she said upon hearing the news of the cancellation.

“It makes me sad as this was a wonderful event for Delaware and the community.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.