In the autumn of 1790 Mozart undertook the penultimate journey of his life to participate in the coronation of Leopold II as Holy Roman Emperor in Frankfurt am Main. His attendance and performance at this significant imperial gathering were an investment designed to improve his fortunes. But Mozart's gamble failed. Though it was a key political event, and despite its significance as one of Mozart's final sojourns, not much more is known about the music of the Frankfurt coronation. This article offers a new understanding of Leopold II's imperial accession, positing the coronation as a vibrant context for music culture. Contrary to narratives that position Mozart's concert above all others, I argue that this was far from the case according to his contemporaries. During the coronation festivities the city hosted three theatre companies and many celebrated musicians, including Ludwig Fischer, Johann Hässler, Vincenzo Righini, Antonio Salieri and Georg Vogler, among others. Frankfurt was indeed filled with musicians who cooperated with and competed against one another in the hope of attracting substantial audiences comprised of the Empire's elite. Yet for Mozart, whose concert was poorly advertised and unfortunately timed, this competition proved too intense. By investigating the musical and political events of Leopold II's imperial coronation, I assert that Mozart's investment, which had the potential to alter his life forever, was unsuccessful in part because of a rumour that caused his desired audience to leave Frankfurt temporarily the very morning his performance took place.