MetalDays festival documents post-Covid demise after announcing closure

Featured image credit: MetalDays

MetalDays organisers have announced that the rock festival series is to cease as they lifted the lid on a demise that began with the Covid-19 pandemic.

MetalDays would attract thousands of heavy metal fans to its annual beachside festival in Slovenia, which was first held as MetalCamp in 2004.

However, organisers have now said the 2022 edition was the last, with poor business decisions, last year’s cancellation due to flooding and the impact of the pandemic among the reasons given for its closure. They apologised for refunds not returned, unpaid bands and unsettled production expenses.

In the wake of criticism from those left out of pocket, organisers claim that shareholders took out loans of more than €500,000 over the last three years to ensure the event’s future. According to a lengthy written explanation, entitled ‘The End’, MetalDays even attempted to sell the brand to major promoters such as Live Nation and Festival Republic to ensure its future.

“This is the final goodbye to MetalDays,” organisers wrote. “For us, MetalDays is a thing of the past, a beautiful memory. When we return, it will be with something new, exciting, and capable of setting a new trend. And most importantly, funds must be available before the first ticket is sold.

“Until then, we wish you nothing but the best. We are at peace in our hearts, and we wish nothing less to all MetalDays supporters. As they say, ‘when one door closes, another opens.’”

Covid-19 cancellations

MetalDays’ team said its problems began with the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. They were forced to postpone that year’s event, with more than 10,000 tickets sold rolled over to 2021. While the business did not have any savings, leaders chose not to change any practices despite little support from the Slovenian government.

“Our judgment was wrong, and it was a mistake to continue our business affairs as if nothing had happened,” MetalDays said in the statement.

Subsequently, the 2021 edition was also cancelled, and soon after the business did make some redundancies, took out a loan and cut back on some expenses.

The 2022 event did go ahead and was sold out but without a reduced capacity of just 7,000 – around half of previous years. MetalDays 2022 ultimately made a loss, with money still owed to fans who had requested refunds. They were also progressing long-term plans for a new bigger venue in Tolmin ahead of 2023.

Severe flooding

While pre-sales for 2023 were good, the final two days of the event were cancelled due to severe flooding at the venue. This led to further refund requirements while organisers also believe the experience negatively impacted 2024 bookings. “Promised” state aid also did not materialise.

Organisers added: “We’re not looking for excuses. Our goal is to present the last four MetalDays years and all significant events as they truly happened. We made mistakes that, even though they occurred during unprecedented times, should not have been made by promoters with our level of expertise — wehad to know better. We had to think like businessmen when COVID-19 started and we should have declared bankruptcy back then.

“Being proud, being friendly, and relying on luck has no place in business. Many individuals and companies would have not been harmed if this decision had been made at the right time. We wish to apologise to each one of them.”

They added: “We are sorry for refunds not returned, unpaid bands, and unsettled production expenses more than you can imagine. We now know what we could and should have done differently. However, the global pandemic and historic flood created challenges that were too big for us to manage effectively at the time.”