Rock the Bells is getting hit with bad news. Billboard can confirm that the decade-old traveling hip-hop festival's remaining two dates, in Washington, D.C. and the New York City area, have been canceled due to low ticket sales.
Festival organizers Guerilla Union confirmed the development in a statement issued Thursday afternoon, following a flurry of unconfirmed reports about the cancellations. "First and foremost, it is with great sadness and disappointment that we must cancel the Washington, DC and New York City Rock the Bells dates due to lack of ticket sales," said founder/owner Chang Weisberg.
Weisberg goes on to thank sponsors, media partners, promoters, radio stations and fans, but explains that carrying on with the concerts would have been difficult, financially.
"We did everything in our power to save the show," he said. "Unfortunately, the financial loss would have been devastating. I am truly sorry we could not produce the show for all the fans who did buy their ticket in support of."
Earlier, the Washington City Paper confirmed with officials at RFK Stadium in D.C. that this weekend's festival was off. As many noted, Ticketmaster's entry for the RFK show had already been updated with the word "Canceled." Many outlets were also reporting that the NYC-area stop at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford NJ, scheduled for Oct. 4-5, was also being scrapped.
The festival was set to have appearances from Wu-Tang Clan (with their virtual Ol' Dirty Bastard), J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (with a virtual Eazy-E), among others.
The traveling event kicked off Sept. 7 in Los Angeles but was not without problems, namely a loss of sound during Wu Tang's set on Sept. 8. Ahead of that, member Method Man voiced disgust with the crowd: "Can we get some energy in this motherfucka?" RTB then made it's way to San Francisco's Shoreline Amphitheater on Sept. 14-15.
Full refunds will be honored at the location where fans purchased their tickets.