Say you’ve lined up Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney and a whole onslaught of talent from all kinds of music for an outdoor festival. Sounds like a moneymaker, doesn’t it? So how on earth did Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., lose $5 million in three days with HullabaLOU? I could see taking a bit of a loss, but come on. Five million? The president of Churchill Downs Entertainment said that he wanted to create the Kentucky Derby of music festivals (which is a nice goal, by the way) and noted, “When we started out with Derby, it didn’t start out with 155,000 people. And it’s grown for 135 years. Hopefully this thing will grow over the next five to ten years and become something that’s meaningful.” They had hoped to have 90,000 people but wound up with about 78,000. And the lost income from slow tickets, parking and concessions is partly what caused the big loss. They aren’t giving up just yet, though. Organizers say they will try again in 2011.
Photo Credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images