(PCM) It has just been revealed that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be permanently folding their big top tent after operating for nearly 150 years. The circus has always been a huge part of American history, especially the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show. The closing of the circus can be blamed on low ticket sales, higher cost in production, and lawsuits from animal rights activist’s.
A message was posted on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus website from Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment the company that produces the circus which read:
“After much evaluation and deliberation, my family and I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will hold its final performances in May of this year. Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.
Nearly 50 years ago, my father founded our company with the acquisition of Ringling Bros. The circus and its people have continually been a source of inspiration and joy to my family and me, which is why this was such a tough business decision to make. The decision was even more difficult because of the amazing fans that have become part of our extended circus family over the years, and we are extremely grateful to the millions of families who have made Ringling Bros. part of their lives for generations. We know Ringling Bros. isn’t only our family business, but also your family tradition.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Circus XTREME will conclude its tour at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., on May 7, 2017, and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Out Of This World will conclude its tour at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on May 21, 2017. We hope you will come to celebrate this American icon for one last time before our tours conclude.
Our company provides quality, live family entertainment, and we invite you to bring your family to one of our other events, including Marvel Universe LIVE!, Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!, as well as future productions.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey has served as inspiration for all of the live entertainment produced at Feld Entertainment. We learned from the circus, and applied those learnings to our other productions. Without Ringling Bros., we wouldn’t have the vibrant live entertainment company that we have today. Ringling Bros. will always be part of Feld Entertainment, and its spirit will live on in every production and project we do.”
In recent years animal rights activists began protesting the circus whenever it would come to town which led to a ton of controversy and several lawsuits that were settled by Feld Entertainment in and out of court. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was hailed “the greatest show on earth” which quickly became one of the most well-known pop culture catchphrases of all time. Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season and will perform 30 shows between now and May. Major stops include Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn.
When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus first began it was a spectacle to see, especially in the mid-1800’s. There were wild and exotic animals, outrageous costumes, amazing stunts and wholesome family entertainment. Phineas Taylor Barnum made a traveling spectacle of animals and human oddities popular, while the five Ringling brothers performed juggling acts and skits from their home base in Wisconsin. Eventually, they merged and the modern circus was born. The sprawling troupes traveled around America by train, wowing audiences with the sheer scale of entertainment and exotic animals. The circus was purchased by the Feld family in 1967.
Another major reason for the circus’s overall decline in children being interested in the show. Now that video games, cell phones and the internet have taken over it became much of a challenge to capture the attention of young minds. Let alone have the sit still and become engrossed in an over 2 hour long circus show. It is a sad reality of the times and just how much has truly changed.