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Sarah McLachlan performs at the Lilith festival last summer in Vancouver. (The Globe and Mail)
Sarah McLachlan performs at the Lilith festival last summer in Vancouver. (The Globe and Mail)

Music

Sarah McLachlan says Lilith Fair is over Add to ...

Despite assurances last summer that Lilith would return - even as attendance was tanking and shows were being cancelled - Sarah McLachlan now says she will not revive her all-female music festival.

"It's done," McLachlan said in Calgary on Sunday. "And that's okay. It's actually a really good thing.

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"[It's]about learning more from our failures than our successes, and it was a beautiful organic event that happened at a point in time when it was really needed. And bringing the same thing back last year really didn't make any sense, in retrospect, without due diligence being done on how women have changed. Because in 12 years, women have changed a lot. Their expectations have changed, the way they view the world has changed, and that was not taken into consideration, which I blame myself for."

Between 1997 and 1999, Lilith Fair toured North America with a rotating roster of female artists or female-led bands including Sheryl Crow, the Pretenders and the Dixie Chicks - with McLachlan headlining.

A critical and commercial success, the tour repeatedly packed houses and raised millions for women's charities.

In 2009, organizers announced with great fanfare that the tour would return in 2010, rebranded simply as Lilith.

But ticket sales were sluggish and multiple dates were cancelled or moved to smaller venues. On Canada Day, as the tour hit West Vancouver's Ambleside Park, not far from McLachlan's home, organizers announced the cancellation of 10 shows.

"It sucks," Ms. McLachlan said during a backstage press conference at the time. But when asked, she insisted the tour would be back.

"Yep," she said.

"And you can spell that y-e-p," added Crow, sitting beside her.

But in Calgary on Sunday, McLachlan was singing a different tune.

"It lived in a time and place and it probably should have stayed there," she said. "And that's okay. I learned that. And I'm just excited about looking forward and thinking of carrying forth the ideas from Lilith and maybe doing something new and different."

McLachlan co-founded the festival with her then-manager, Terry McBride, of the Vancouver-based Nettwerk Music Group, and two other industry executives. Last summer, McBride blamed the economy and the media for Lilith's problems, pointing out that many other concert tours were suffering.

"This is not a Lilith phenomenon," he said at the time. "This is a summer-recession-finally-being-felt phenomenon."

McBride, with whom McLachlan is parting ways, did not respond to a request for an interview by deadline on Monday.

McLachlan is on tour promoting her latest release, Laws of Illusion.

 

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