ANTIOCH (KPIX 5) – The XO Music Festival scheduled for this weekend in Antioch was canceled Wednesday amid mounting questions about the lack of preparations by event organizers and legal troubles surrounding the promoter.
“Due to the promoters lack of fulfilling contractual obligations between the Contra Costa Event Park and World Class Entertainment, Event Park Management in the best interest and safety of our facility, event attendees and the City of Antioch have no choice but to cancel,” Joe Brengle, CEO of Contra Costa Event Park, said in a statement.
Brengle said the event was canceled when the organizers tried to submit “invalid” insurance documents, which he said breached the contract.
On the music festival’s website, organizers said the festival was postponed “due to lower than anticpated (sic) ticket sales and in part due to the fact that there were some negative media reports targeting us, with which we strongly disagree.”
Pierre “B.Nasty” Reed is a booking agent who says he lost quite a bit of money. He says he paid the organizer $10,000 dollars of his own money to put together local acts on one of the stages, then was charging musicians $100 dollars a pop to perform, but now there’s no show.
“As soon as I heard the news, my chest just fell out … I threw up. I just couldn’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe I believed the lie,” said Reed.
He says he asked to get his money back but doesn’t feel reassured.
“He said his lawyer would send me a letter but that’s not something I can give back to an artist, so out of my next few paychecks I have to pay these artists back because I have to keep my integrity.”
Organizers said ticket holders will be receiving refunds through the ticketing agent.
GrowTix, which handled tickets for the event, told KPIX 5, “We are refunding all ticket holders immediately. This process has already started. Funds were never distributed to the XO festival and held by us in case of cancellation.”
“Everyone who ordered will get an email confirmation of their refund. It will post in 1-2 days to their bank account,” said GrowTix president John Sloan.
Venue officials said refund inquiries should be directed to event promoter, identified as Sami Habib.
In February, Habib, also known Habidulla Qadir, was arrested along with his brother Mohammad Qadir for allegedly being involved in a fraudulent home rental scheme in Fremont.
Authorities said at the time the brothers used false or counterfeited documentation to rent at least five homes.
The brothers will face a pretrial hearing on the charges in August.
Dave Brooks, executive editor for Amplify Media, which covers the live entertainment industry, has been reporting about the impending debacle since May.
“From the beginning, something felt very wrong about XO Festival. We could tell they were making promises that they could not deliver and would likely leave fans feeling disappointed,” Brooks told KPIX 5. “That’s really bad for the festival eco-system and ultimately hurts independent promoters who put on honest events.”
“It will be interesting to see what else we learn in the days and weeks ahead, but at least we know no one is going to get hurt attending XO Festival,” Brooks went on to say.
Scrutiny surrounding the festival had increased in recent days, as some of the acts that were scheduled to appear canceled their performances over lack of payment.
“I want to SINCERELY APOLOGIZE to all my fans that have purchased tickets,” musician Trinere V. Farrington told her fans on her Facebook page.
Meanwhile, others questioned the lack of preparation at the Event Park site.
“I’ve played a lot of festivals. I’ve played the Gathering of the Juggalos many years and it takes them about a week to set up for something like that,” Mario “Mars” Delgado, a horror-core artist from Pittsburg told KPIX 5, as he toured the venue Monday night. “We’re here and there’s no trailers or staff. There’s still garbage over here … nothing is set up.”
On Wednesday, Delgado said, “I’m not surprised. I’m sure there are many people in the community who were already questioning the authenticity of this entire thing as soon as it was announced. I mean, Vanilla Ice in Antioch? No way!”
In spite of the questions, organizers insisted the event would take place.
Following an inquiry by KPIX 5 reporter Joe Vazquez on Monday, the festival’s Twitter account responded by saying “Honestly everything is perfect.”
An item posted on the festival’s Instagram account before the announcement Wednesday morning stated, “Regardless of all the fake media. We are still planning our festival. The media is trying to cause issues for us for no apparent reason. We have worked to(sic) hard! Stay tuned. Thank you.”
Originally scheduled from Friday through Sunday, the XO Music Festival promised more than 100 acts on seven stages over three days. Big names such as Ludacris, T.I., Vanilla Ice and Mistah Fab were among the performers on the bill.
Officials said the promoter can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or by mailing World Class Entertainment, Inc. Attn: Sami Habib 39962 Cedar Boulevard #279 Newark, CA 94560.