JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local family said they were charged hundreds of dollars for tickets to a music festival that was canceled.
They want all their money back from organizers of the “Party in the Pines.” It was supposed to be a two-day country music and camping festival in White Springs, Hamilton County, just west of Jacksonville.
“We were very disappointed, because we spent about $1,500,” Martha Glocker said.
She paid that, thinking she would get to see the Zac Brown Band, Luke Combs and others, as well as enjoy a night of camping last October.
On Sept. 28, the “Party in the Pines” Twitter account tweeted that it was selling ticket packages for hundreds of dollars. A week later, there was a tweet saying event organizers had added another RV camping site to meet demand.
But then 10 days before the event, they suddenly tweeted the festival was canceled “due to circumstances beyond our control.” The tweet also said that the festival organizers “are working on a plan to compensate ticket holders and sponsors."
Glocker said she was not fully compensated.
“I feel disappointed in the place” she said.
Glocker showed “Send Ben” emails she exchanged with the concert promoter Bienveille Entertainment. One email from Bienville on Oct. 15 said its “talent agency made the decision not to work with us” and “We have paid them $1.4 million and that money is being held by them.”
“Send Ben” called Bienville Entertainment looking for answers, and left a message. We also sent them an email. We are still waiting to hear back from them.
“Send Ben” has found several examples of promoters pulling the plug on music festivals with partial or no refunds in Boston, Austin, Nashville, St. Louis, San Francisco and British Columbia, all in the past three years. Local music festival producer and DJ, Jake Mitchell, said most festivals fail because of money issues.
“You find people are trying to throw this together and make this happen without infrastructure and proper money backing. They just don’t have the money,” Mitchell said.
One well-known example of festival fraud is the Fyre Festival, which spawned two documentaries. The 2017 event promised a VIP experience in the Bahamas, but it turned into a nightmare, as concert-goers were left stranded. The organizer has since been sentenced to prison.
As for Glocker, she recently received about half her money back, but the experience still feels like a sad country song.
“Definitely an achy, breaky heart,” she said about the experience.
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