Yesterday the Wayhome Music & Arts Festival broke their social media silence to announce that they will be putting their festival on “pause” in 2018.
Both on their website and social media platforms, the organizers state:
A sense of calm comes from a PAUSE. It can be a simple moment to take a much needed breath or an opportunity to reflect, reassess and reimagine. A PAUSE is equal parts necessary & important.
WayHome Music & Arts will be on PAUSE in 2018.
THANK YOU for the love & support the community of WayHomies have shown over the last three years. The millions of magical moments we created and shared together will sit in our memory banks to be relived for years to come.
This isn’t goodbye, just see you later.
2017 marked the third year of the festival, yet it was apparent from the start that it had lost the momentum from the previous two years due to its multi-genre lineup. Despite the lack of a cohesive lineup, the 2017 festival was a surprising success, or at least it appeared to be. For a more detailed review, you can read Andrew Brennan’s experience of the festival here.
Yet, the silence after the festival was unnerving. On the last day, there was no announcement for a 2018 date, and there was nothing posted to any of the Wayhome social media channels. This led to speculation that the festival would not be returning, as explored in our previous article “Finding our Wayhome: the fate of the festival.”
While this pause may not come as a shock, many expressed their sadness and disappointment in the festival’s hiatus. The Wayhomies may be fickle, but they are also loyal. Despite initial heavy criticism of this year’s lineup, many came out to the festival anyway.
According to the Globe and Mail, festival attendance dropped from 40,000 to 35,000 with the daily attendance falling further between 18,000 and 25,000.
Ultimately, the gamble that the Wayhome organizers took this year with their multi-genre lineup did not pay off, literally and figuratively. From the day that the festival lineup was announced, people criticized the both the lack of big name artists and the lack of a coherent musical genre.
By only dipping their toes, and never fully committing to a theme or genre, nobody was fully satisfied. There were painfully long gaps between sets, and a lot of open space with few activities in between.
That said, it also indicates that the Wayhome brand, still in its infancy, is experiencing natural growing pains. The Canadian music festival scene itself is experiencing these growing pains, with the cancellation of B.C.’s Pemberton Music Festival last year, and the rebranding of Toronto’s North by Northeast festival.
Some have suggested that the novelty of music festivals, especially ones that involve travel and staying on site, have simply worn off. While this may be true, the fact remains that these festivals are an important link to Canadian musical identity. It gives the Canadian music scene a much-needed spotlight, allowing fans access to artists and live music that otherwise would not have been possible without traveling to another country.
Here’s hoping that Wayhome can find its way home in time for 2019!