Awesome Fest Suspended Indefinitely

Founder and Artistic Director Josh Goldbloom shares the news in a very personal statement.

For everyone looking forward to this year’s Awesome Fest, this isn’t good news. Founder and Artistic Director Josh Goldbloom announced today that all Awesome Fest events—free movies in Clark Park, the Kevin (Bacon) Fest, everything—have been canceled indefinitely. 

In a lengthy emailed statement, Goldbloom said that the suspension “sucks” and that he’s “absolutely heartbroken over it.” He later discusses the legal battle he is undergoing, in which he sued business partner and Trocadero owner Joanna Pang after a dispute over Awesome Fest’s equipment. (More about that here.)

“Yes, I am currently in a miserable & irrational legal battle fighting tooth & nail to save the festival. It’s completely senseless to me, and therefore I can’t imagine it would make sense to anyone else. If I could do anything to change this, please know that I would. I have exhausted just about every resource available to me and every penny in my pocket to avoid this. And yet, here we are.

Film is essential to me. It’s like bread & water. I NEED it. If we’ve ever met, you would immediately understand the importance of sustaining film culture in this town to me. I’ve both figuratively and literally fought for it. And though I’ve been threatened with multiple defamation lawsuits if I go public, I have no interest in giving up my voice. You need to fight for what’s right, and more importantly, the things that you love.”

Mr. Goldbloom also emphasized how important it was to him to “never put a price tag on ANY outdoor screening,” and listed a series of accomplishments from past festivals, including hosting Philly’s first-ever drive in movie theater, partnering with Wizard World, producing the first ever Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival, and hosting Philly’s largest pizza party ever with The Pizza Underground.

He closes his statement by encouraging Philadelphians to support other alternative programming in the city, and listed a series of organizations that he wanted to personally thank:

“I’m not sure of what’s going to become of these matters in the following days, months, or even hours. It is my hope that this will eventually find a solution and I’ll be able to get back to doing what I love. I’m going to do everything I can to fight for this, and I have an amazing support structure behind me to help in this effort. I’m grateful every day for The Arts & Business Council of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Dilworth Paxson, and those who have dedicated their time and energy to assist me in this battle. I’m humbled.”

Stay tuned to Philly Mag Ticket for more information and updates.