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Rock the Bells to Return in 2014, Despite 2013 Cancellations

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Whatever challenges may come, the bells will keep on rocking for Rock the Bells, the renowned hip-hop festival that was cancelled in September midway through its 10th anniversary dates, putting the continuation of the festival into question. Through its tenure, Rock the Bells has hosted a who’s who of the rap world from its reuniting of legacy acts to showcasing up-and-coming independent talent.

This weekend, founder Chang Weisberg announced through a video on his company Guerilla Union’s YouTube channel (below) that the festival will return, with several acts already booked for next year. Weisberg did not announce any specific date for Rock the Bells 2014, though years past have seen the festival take place in July, August and/or September with its date and lineup usually announced in May.

In a rarity for concert and festival promoters, Weisberg’s video was something of a behind-the-scenes, candid look — “directly from the horse’s mouth,” he said — at why Rock the Bells didn’t work in 2013.

“Ultimately, we just didn’t sell enough tickets,” Weisberg said, mentioning that the festival is going “back to the drawing board.” “There’s not any one singular reason why the show didn’t happen outside of us not selling the amount of tickets that we needed to pull off the show.”

Weisberg seemed to indicate that Rock the Bells 2014 will expand its parameters of what “hip-hop” is.

“We’re taking a lot of fan input,” he said. “We’re always trying to diversify and show all the amazing stories within the genre of hip-hop. And that could be [EDM acts like] Pretty Lights, Mimosa, Chase and Status.”

Upon the 2013 cancellation, Weisberg told Radio.com, “I’m really bummed. We were really excited, with it being the 10 year anniversary of the tour. Something like this leaves everyone scratching their heads. You look at the line-up and it just doesn’t make sense. I’m at a loss for words, really. I feel like I’ve let down so many people. The artists have been awesome and so supportive, but I’m crushed. There are a lot of high-profile hip-hop tours on the road right now, so maybe the market’s saturated. For hip-hop, this is the busiest season I’ve ever seen. I wish everybody well.”

-Paul de Revere, Radio.com

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