Crowds desert MSFest

The X-static team takes a look at the demise of this year's MSFest.

SOME 1500 people will be seeking refunds from MSFest 2012 after it officially closed yesterday due to a lack of sales and weather concerns. The sales compare with the crowd of 14,000 last year that had made MSFest one of Tasmania's biggest one-day festivals.

The festival's decline was visible as ticket prices went from $99 to $75 and bring-a-friend, to refunded ticket prices and a $40 tax-deductible "donation".

MSFest promoter Charles Touber blamed weather, little interest from punters and the cancellation of acts for the event's failure.

The event has been a major topic of discussion in social media sites, with many comments on Facebook blaming the failure on the lack of a true headline act.

One Hobart-based fan bought an unwanted MSFest ticket on eBay two weeks ago but resold it on Gumtree yesterday before confirmation of the cancellation.

"There had been rumours around Hobart for a few days that the event would get cancelled," she said.

"But that wasn't the reason I sold it.

"Everyone was undecided about going and some said they might buy a ticket on the day.

"I didn't want to get there and find no one else was going."

The woman felt bad for the person who bought her ticket as they would only be able to get a refund with credit card details.

"That's the risk you take on the internet," she said.

She said people were not keen to go as a lot of the bands playing at MSFest had already played at Falls and sideshows.

"A lot of people from Hobart are heading to Breath of Life," she said.

"I know some people who have hired a big bus."

Early yesterday, confusion surrounded MSFest as reports of a downsized festival, in the form of two indoor shows, was released in The Mercury following a surprise announcement from MS Society Tasmania chief executive Dale Eastley only five days out from its proposed date.

One Tasmanian act that was booked to play said its MSFest contact only found out about the festival's problems through the media yesterday.

There are hopes the festival will survive in a new format.

MS Society Tasmania chief executive officer Dale Eastley said they would investigate staging single-artist concerts in the quieter cooler months.

"People are responding to single artist events with some support so that's the sort of thing we need to understand," Mr Eastley said.

"In the winter time we're all looking for something to do."

Melbourne band Little Red officially pulled out on Friday and Fat Freddy's Drop also withdrew. Mr Eastley denied Matt Corby had cancelled.

It is the second Launceston-based festival to end after moving to Hobart.

Gone South, which moved to Southern Tasmania after starting life in the North, ended in 2004.

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