By this time last year, EdgeFest had just hosted its triumphant 25th concert, featuring many long-running alt-rock bands and celebrating the legacy of a radio station that had switched its format a few months prior. Thousands of attendees packed Toyota Stadium in Frisco to see the Offspring, the Toadies, a reunited Nixons and Blink 182.
The Edge's radio station wasn't around anymore. But that wasn't really the point.
Also in spring 2017, we were a month away from the second Off the Rails festival at the same venue, which featured a star-powered country lineup with Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean, among many others. And a few weeks after that, in June, the annual Untapped music and beer festival made its debut as the re-named Index Festival, with folk-rock heroes Dawes providing the soundtrack to the annual day of beer sampling along the banks of the Trinity River in Fort Worth.
But as of right now, none of those fests have announced a 2018 date.
It's not as though these are rookie fests. These are established players who created unique stamps on the D-FW festival scene in the past few years. Where festivals like the ill-conceived Starfest or the recently canceled, low ticket-selling CFW Festival never made it to opening day, the three aforementioned shindigs have been there, done that, and repeatedly so.
What's more, the youngest, Off the Rails, is the grandest in scope. In each of its two editions, Off the Rails has brought thousands to Toyota Stadium for two days of A-list mainstream country chart-toppers. In both 2016 and 2017, the lineups were announced early in the year. We're long past that in 2018: Strange, right?
As it turns out, there will not be a 2018 Off the Rails festival.
Here's this, according to AEG marketing manager Ryan Brandon: "We have decided to focus on 2019 for Off the Rails Country Music Fest," he said in an email.
The decision, made "at the beginning of 2018," to skip this year is due to "a lot of traffic in the market this year," Brandon wrote.
He says May 2019 dates for Off the Rails in Frisco are "locked in."
As for Untapped-turned-Index, the answer is there is no answer.
A little background: After several years of billing itself as Untapped, a beer and music festival created by local concert promotion company Spune Productions and Dallas Morning News subsidiary CrowdSource, the festival took on the name Index in 2017 after being purchased by B-Weiss Entertainment. It was a curious choice, given that the original Index Festival last happened in 2015, then folded after a respectable but short run in Deep Ellum. If nothing else, Untapped had become a recognizable brand name on the competitively crowded local festival calendar.
Under the new ownership, the festival conducted its 2017 schedule much in the same way it had under its old name, with parties in Houston, San Antonio and the annual Dallas Fair Park event last fall. But alas, here we are less than two months away from the date of last year's spring Fort Worth fest, and no date or information has emerged.
Organizer Brad Weiss has not responded to repeated emails and a phone call. But Joel Malone, co-founder of Bishop Cider Co. and a regular festival vendor, says "we were planning to participate in all of the Index festivals, but just received notification that they were all canceled." Malone was to serve cider at the events in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin.
Perhaps the most intriguing question mark hovering around Dallas' festival season relates to EdgeFest, the annual concert named for a radio station that no longer exists — but still has tons of fans.
The Edge has been gone for well over a year. Then news about iHeartMedia's bankruptcy landed in March.
iHeartMedia's director of marketing and promotions Travis Hill said via email in February that his company was "still actively trying to put together a show" for EdgeFest. When asked for an update in April, he wrote that "nothing has changed" when it comes to EdgeFest planning, and that the iHeartMedia bankruptcy news "will/would have zero impact on the show, as we are moving forward with other planned events."
But still: No news yet.
"When and if we announce a show, a press release will go out about it. I couldn't talk about anything until that time," Hill said. Hmm.
The one thing we've learned? No festival, no matter how star-studded, beloved or deep-pocketed, is invincible.
Tiney Ricciardi contributed to this report.