The 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 the 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 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 in regards to some of the talent skipping the red carpet due to not getting their full pay or not being paid at all as stated in their contracts. Each artist still performed and put on a great show in order not to disappoint the fans. Although K. Michelle was not ashamed to mention during her performance about not getting her payment.
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 in regards to his pay. He was supposed to close out Saturday night’s show as the main headliner. BJ the Chicago Kid was due to open up the show, but he dropped as well for the same reasons. 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” beyond Airborne Tickets’ “control” the whole show was pulled for Sunday. The news came at the last minute when guest were 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 disastar. Guests were told via email that they would receive full refund’s 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.
“This was my first time coming out to one of these events, however it will be last,” Samella Stover stated. “Not only was Saturday a disaster with the missing acts, but the waiting time for beverages for hours, but to just cancel the event because you weren’t organized from the jump is ridiculous. How is it [that] I pre-paid for my ticket and still [had] to wait over an hour to get in? I paid not only for my thee-day VIP ticket, but hotel and air cost. Thank you for messing up the first vacation I have had in several years.”
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 of the expenses and payouts of an event that is this massive with A-list talent.
Check out some more highlights for Friday night’s show (Photo credit: Naomi K. Bonman)