Number Fest, one of the biggest college music festivals in the country, will not return in 2020, according to the Athens News. The landmark hip-hop and electronic music festival held every year in Athens, Ohio, just outside Ohio University, ran for 15 years before its ultimate demise.
In a statement, festival founder Dominic Petrozzi expressed pride in what he had built over the years alongside the Columbus-based Prime Social Group, calling it “A hell of a ride.”
“The economics of the music festival business has drastically changed to where in order to provide an affordable ticket price for college students,” Petrozzi said of the decision. “It was very hard economically to provide a lineup that would stack against the history of Number Fest. We didn’t want to get into charging students $100 a ticket, although for a lot of these music festivals these days, a weekend pass costs 400 bucks.”
Over the years, the festival hosted many up-and-coming artists just before they broke through on the national stage, including G-Eazy, Schoolboy Q, The Chainsmokers, Kendrick Lamar, Diplo, Wiz Khalifa, and many more. The festival found a permanent home at what became known as The Venue Of Athens, a field off of Route 56, a few miles west of Athens.
In recent years, the communities in and around Athens presented more and more pushback against the festival due to the noise, trash, and increased property damage that they saw the festival bring in each year. In earlier incarnations, the festival would charter school buses to pick up students at Ohio University’s campus and shuttle them the nearly three miles between campus and the venue.
Starting in 2016, however, Number Fest no longer provided shuttles citing insurance concerns. This then forced the students who weren’t willing to pay the $20 fee to cram into somebody’s flatbed truck to instead walk down State Route 56, which has no sidewalks. This, in turn, caused the Athens Sheriff Department to shut down State Route 56 to all through traffic after the festival, which meant getting picked up from the grounds was also not an option. The transportation issues proved to merely be one element of the quagmire of problems that brought an ultimate end to Number Fest.
Due to dwindling attendance, the festival was also forced to consolidate the usual two days of performances into on all-day Saturday event this past year. A final blow came to Number Fest in 2019 when headliner Rick the Kid never showed up to perform, thus sealing the festival’s fate.
[H/T Athens News]