This year’s Virgin Mobile Freefest has been called off, according to festival producer Seth Hurwitz.
In a statement, the I.M.P. chairman and Merriweather Post Pavilion operator says:
The Freefest was this fantastic product of a crossroads of [Richard] Branson [founder of the Virgin Group] and some very creative people at Virgin. The mixture got shaken up every year, and it always settled at the last possible moment for that year. That was part of the spontaneous magic that everyone could pick up on I think. Unfortunately, the pieces are not all there right now with Virgin. Whether they are again who knows. But the Freefest concept is fantastic and we are exploring options to continue it at Merriweather.
A spokesperson for Virgin Mobile USA announced the cancellation in a statement published by the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun. According to both outlets, the statement says VMU will instead make a “significant donation” to the organization that Freefest normally benefits: the Sasha Bruce RE*Generation House in D.C.
The Virgin Mobile Festival began in 2006 and went free-admission in 2009 when it debuted at Merriweather in Columbia, Maryland. In prior years the event took place at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course and other locations in Canada.
Previous Freefest lineups ran the gamut from flashy EDM to indie to R&B; last year’s big acts included Vampire Weekend and Robin Thicke.