Uncertainties remain for a music festival originally set to debut in central Arkansas earlier this year, according to an official familiar with the planning process.
The Fulcrum is postponed until at least September. No specific rescheduled date has been been announced on its website or social media platforms, and the last related postings to Facebook and Twitter were in March.
Cliff Aaron, who describes himself as a festival “mediator,” said Monday that organizers are seeking to book “two bigger acts” to join at least some of the acts previously scheduled to attend. Among those scheduled previously: headliners Stephen Marley and PJ Morton, who at the time of postponement agreed to perform in September.
That booking process, Aaron said, may require an additional delay in the event. Another venue may also be sought to avoid weather-related problems that stopped the event from being held in March, he said.
According to its website, the festival is still scheduled for sometime in September on a 40-acre section of Davis Ranch, which is in Cabot off Arkansas 107, about 10 miles north of the Little Rock Air Force Base.
But Daniel Davis of Davis Ranch says no such plan is active on the property.
“We were going to lease some property but things didn’t work out,” he said Tuesday. “We don’t have anything going on right now.”
Preparations for Davis Ranch to serve as the host site deteriorated as organizers “got up to the last couple of weeks” before the festival’s planned March 16-17 dates, Davis said.
A 'TIGHT-LIPPED' APPROACH
Aaron said he's been instructed by the latest production team to remain “tight-lipped” until details of a rescheduled Fulcrum are released. He declined to identify the organizers.
“They looked at everything from the last time around, including the press — negative or indifferent,” Aaron said. “It seemed like it was such negative things said. It didn’t seem like it was being supported.”
He said some details remain up in the air.
“We can’t say if it’s going to be in September or if we’re going to wait until next spring, Aaron said, adding that "the venue may change for sure."
None of the previously scheduled performers had listed September show dates for a Fulcrum festival or any possible related event in central Arkansas as of Monday.
The Fulcrum festival first came to light in November, when organizers detailed an ambitious list of possible headliners, including Kelly Clarkson as a performer and Jimmy Fallon as host.
Aaron said then that the listing showed artists that had given verbal commitments, but two performers' managers told an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter otherwise. All traces of their names were eventually removed.
Organizers initially described the event as "fan-driven" based on a public poll and had set their sights on hosting it at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium — in part to distance it from Riverfest.
Fulcrum's announcement came about three months after Riverfest Inc. announced that it would shutter operations, effectively halting Little Rock’s signature music festival. By December, Memphis-based Universal Fairs Inc. announced its plans to revive the event under the RiverFest moniker.
SCHEDULING SHIFTS MOUNT
That same month, ticket sales were halted temporarily for Fulcrum as organizers worked to secure a venue and big-name acts. At the time, the festival was tentatively set for March 17 and 18 at the amphitheater in downtown Little Rock's Riverfront Park, though no contract was finalized.
Fulcrum's website was taken down and displayed a message that it was out-of-service because of "heavier than normal" traffic.
In early January, a proposal to host the festival on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center fell through as organizers did not meet the terms of a rental contract, library spokeswoman Rebecca Tennille said. By the end of that month, the Fulcrum settled on Davis Ranch.
On March 6, festival organizers cited "record rainfall and even more rainfall forecasted by the National Weather Service" for postponing the event until September.
Refunds were made available to ticket holders, and artists were given the opportunity to play at a rescheduled event. Tickets ranged in price from $100 to more than $300.
“The safety of our guests, performers and crew is our primary concern,” a statement read in part. “We are very sorry for the disappointment and disruption caused to everyone who was looking forward to attending the festival.”
Information for this article was contributed by Rachel Herzog of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.