The cancellation of the inaugural Music to Know festival – originally scheduled for this weekend in East Hampton, New York – has left Vampire Weekend fans without any opportunities to see the band perform in the U.S. this year. “Despite our unique vision and arranging a world-class line-up, ticket sales were not adequate to allow the event to continue,” said a message posted on the festival’s website on August 6th. “We wanted to let everyone know now before engaging more deeply.”
Vampire Weekend were set to headline the first night of the new festival. Other noteworthy acts on the bill included second-night headliners Bright Eyes, Aussie psych explorers Tame Impala, British pop warbler Ellie Goulding, California roots-rockers Dawes, new-wave vets Tom Tom Club, Canadian party-starters Chromeo and more.
UPDATE: “We are disappointed the festival was cancelled with such short notice,” Vampire Weekend’s booking agent said in an August 9th statement. “We were assured when we booked the show that ticket sales were not the sole funding source for the festival, as that’s a risky way to finance a festival. Apparently that wasn’t the case and it appears the festival organizers simply lacked financing and failed to properly promote their event.”
The day before the cancellation, Vampire Weekend’s members were still looking forward to rocking the Hamptons. “We’re based in New York, only a couple hours away, and we thought we’d make a weekend out of it,” producer-multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij told Rolling Stone.
The band hadn’t yet started rehearsing as of last week – but after completing a lengthy world tour last year, they were feeling confident about their concert abilities. “The ideal is to really let yourself go, and then everything kind of disappears into a vacuum of being inside the performance,” said Batmanglij. “I think we got to a point where we can do that more than ever.”
Their set would have included all the songs from Vampire Weekend’s first two albums, plus a possible cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Goin’ Down,” a live favorite. “It’s one of those classic songs that has very bright music and dark lyrics,” said Batmanglij. “Coercing thousands of people into chanting those lyrics is pretty fun.”
They weren’t, however, planning on playing any new songs written since their last album’s January 2010 release. “In the old days, we used to play songs live even before we’d finished writing them,” said Batmanglij. “Like the song ‘A-Punk,’ we played all of two or three times in rehearsal before we played it live. I think the majority of the lyrics Ezra [Koenig] came up with off the top of his head. For us to do that now wouldn’t be possible in the same way. You know, we were playing for 50 of our friends at a literary society at Columbia [University]. It was the early days of YouTube. Now, whether you like it or not, you’re putting something out into the world, so it makes it hard. But that said, who knows? Maybe it’ll feel right.”
Now we’ll never know if they would have broken out a work-in-progress. Vampire Weekend has not announced any make-up date to replace MTK.