By Naomi K. Bonman
Summer time is the time for good food, good company, and good music. This is the experience that many are hopeful for when attending the LA Soul Fest. After a successful year, last year during the 1st annual LA Soul Fest, concert goers were amped for this year’s show and line-up. Despite Sunday’s cancellation, many still made the most of the first two-days.
This year the festival was held at a new location closer to Downtown Los Angeles at Exposition Park, and with a new location came several changes. The first change was within the staffing. There seemed to be miscommunication between event staff, the public relations crew, and the promotion company, Airborne Tickets. For press, checking-in was a bit confusing on Friday where some of us kept getting the run around prior to picking up credentials. Guests also said stated that they had difficulties when claiming their VIP, The passes at the “box office”.
“Friday and Saturday for us Florida tourist was nice,” Tanya Hurt explains. “I’m very disappointed they canceled Sunday’s show…well I guess seeing how they were disorganized with VIP tickets on Friday should have been a foreshadow of what was to come.”
Despite the confusion with check-in everything seemed to run smoothly on Friday, even regarding some of the talent skipping the red carpet due to not getting their full pay. Each artist performed and put on a great show in order not to disappoint fans.
Saturday night was a different story. The evening was more hectic with artists not showing up due to no payment. Tyrese went on a rampage via social media about his pay. He was supposed to close out Saturday night’s show as the main headliner. BJ the Chicago Kid was due to open the show, but he dropped as well. However, Anthony Hamilton and Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh saved the show by doing extended sets.
After Saturday night’s disappointments, it was excepted that Sunday would run much smoother, but due to unforeseen circumstances the show was pulled. The news came at the last minute when guests was already lined up waiting for the gates to open. Several traveled distances and booked hotel fares for the festival, and felt as if they wasted money and that their vacation turned into a disaster. Guests were told via email that they would receive full refunds for Sunday’s show, although some also believed that they should also receive a partial refund for Saturday night since some of the artists did not perform as hoped for.
“Thank you for your support and patronage over the last two years,” Mark Douglas, CEO of Airborne Tickets/Director of LA Soul Fest, explained. “We apologize for your experience regarding Sunday’s event cancellation. We did everything in our power to make this show a success, but fell short financially. We ask for your patience in this matter, as we work to deliver the best possible service to all our customers during these circumstances.”
This is one of those unfortunate situations where you just scratch your head and ask, “Now how do we recover from this?” Hopefully in the future the promoters can rethink and re-manage things to have a successful event like the first year. They may have to go back to the original venue and layout plan, and invest in acquiring sponsors because vendors alone can’t cover all the expenses and payouts of an event that is this massive with A-list talent.
Photos by Kristina Dixon/11:One Visuals