Bands Want Houston Beer Fest to Pay Up
A number of bands who played the recent Houston Beer Fest are now upset with the promoters, claiming they bounced checks to as many as 20 acts who appeared, as well as some vendors. Meanwhile, the promoters say they are digging out from a huge financial hole resulting from scheduled headliner Rick Ross's no-show at the event (not to mention theft by their own employees), and are pursuing legal action themselves.
Photos by Francisco Montes
Tuesday afternoon on the Houston Beer Fest 2015 Facebook page, Evan Dickson, manager of Austin alt-rock group Dynamite Hack, posted, "You guys should really pay all the bands from 2014 before scheduling 2015."
His comments were co-signed by Jonathan Pretus, vocalist/guitarist for New Orleans-based The Breton Sound, who also performed at Beer Fest. Later in the thread, he said the band was not informed of the free beer available in the artists' catering area until it was too late and the band had already bought their own beer tickets, "which in itself was an adventure."
"Not the most organized event I've ever been to," he said.
On the surface, the fourth-year festival appeared to have been a success, drawing large crowds to Sam Houston Park last month for the two-day event, which featured acts including Pepper, Action Bronson 3OH!3 and dozens of local and regional bands. But things began to unravel around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 8, when an announcement was made that a "medical emergency" had prevented Ross from making the trip to Houston.
Timothy Hudson, one of the Beer Fest partners as well as the festival's talent buyer, says he had received a message from Ross's management earlier saying that the Miami rapper was dealing with an infection due to a tooth that had been extracted earlier in the week and might not be able to make his appearance. (Previously, Ross had already canceled his past several Houston dates.) However, Ross's Twitter account posted the following photo to his more than 3 million followers the evening of June 8, which coincided with Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
"The combination of Ross and employee theft has made it very hard for us to pay some of the vendors," Hudson admitted Tuesday. "We had several employees stealing beer cards (which to us is money) and giving away free beer, which is money as well."
Ultimately the money Beer Fest organizers spent buying beer for the festival, which advertised in the neighborhood of 100 different varieties of beer, dwarfed the revenue the festival saw in sales, Hudson says. He added that he and his partners have drafted a letter to Ross and his management informing them of their intention to sue unless the rapper's substantial up-front guarantee is refunded.
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