Weather putting damper on U.K. fests

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LONDON -- Recent flooding and storms throughout the U.K. have sunk a set of live music events, including the LodeStar, Ashton Court and Fflam festivals.

Cambridge-based LodeStar, described as the "newest indie rock festival," was scheduled to take place Aug. 31-Sept. 2. The festival's founder Doug Durrant, who was to use the site of a family-owned 165-acre farm, blamed the inclement weather for poor ticket sales.

"It is tremendously unfortunate that LodeStar's inaugural year happened to be 2007 -- a year with the worst summer weather in Britain for 200 years," he said. "Ticket sales were fairly low, and totally reflective of the weather up until the end of July." Tickets will be refunded, Durrant said.

Badly Drawn Boy, Idlewild and indie rock act the Pigeon Detectives were to headline the festival, which was sponsored by BBC 6 Music, a digital radio station belonging to the U.K. public broadcaster's empire.

Despite the false start, Durrant said he was preparing for a LodeStar in 2008.

LodeStar's bad news comes at a time when organizers have officially canceled Bristol's 33-year-old Ashton Court Festival.

Promoted by the not-for-profit Bristol Community Festival, the July 14-15 outdoor event was originally postponed when heavy rains rendered the site useless.

BCF on Friday said the cancellation had led to financial losses it could no longer sustain, and the organization is seeking liquidators to wind the company up.

About 150 indie acts, including British postpunk band the Fall, were booked to play.

Another postponed event, the July 13-15 Fflam Festival in Wales, has now been nixed after organizers said a new date could not be agreed upon.

And bad weather is the reason cited for the postponement of Truck, which was to be held July 21-22 in Oxfordshire. It will take place from Sept. 22.

However, festival organizer Mean Fiddler Music Group is determined not to let the elements drown its show.

Flooding from the nearby River Thames has started to overwhelm the land for the popular Carling Weekend: Reading Festival, due to take place Aug. 24-26 with the Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails among the key performers.

"There is absolutely no question. Reading will go ahead," MFMG's managing director Melvin Benn said in a statement. "There may be some reconfiguration of the site since the flooding. But nothing myself and my production team can't deal with. I'm looking forward to once again putting on the greatest rock festival on the planet."

Unusual weather conditions have damaged a handful of Continental European events, including Italy's Heineken Jammin' Festival and Germany's Southside Festival.
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