Music fans who were looking forward to three days of fun found a rude shock as the World United Music Festival was abruptly canceled.
Festival staff were told by Jerry Payne, the organizer of the WUMF , that the remaining lineup of musicians would no longer be allowed to play and ticket holders were to be refused entry. People already attending the festival were asked to leave.
“He [Payne] was unhappy with the wind and the temperatures,” said Morrice Montalvo, one of the members of the production company that Payne contracted with to put on the festival, who also expressed apologies to the public regarding the cancellation.
Winds on Friday night were high and at least one tent was blown over resulting in an injury to a vendor.
“From what I understand all involved will be reimbursed,” said Montalvo, when asked about the possibility of refunds. As of yet no exact plans for this reimbursement have been finalized.
Payne, in a statement released today said:
There was a communication breakdown between the production company and those who they hired on to produce this show and it sounds like a dispute between the production company and one of its sub contractors. We are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the breakdown in communication. Having been unaware of these issues I had no way to anticipate the severity of these problems. My heartfelt apologizes go out to all those who came on board to help us with our cause most of all the volunteers, vendors and the musicians as well as those who came to see the show to help the overall goal of supporting our troops and veterans who have served our country.
As soon as I have more information I will be sure to keep you informed. I am here in Austin as we work forward to resolve this situation.
And again my heartfelt apologies!
Cory O’Donnell, Marketing Director for the festival, refutes the notion that the dispute was with the production company.
“It says production company, it should say staging company,” said O’Donnell
Furthermore, a statement on the WUMF website says:
We are sorry for any inconvenience but the Festival has been canceled for the weekend. We look forward to next year’s event. Sunday Show Canceled Due to Weather on Friday and Saturday. The production staff apologizes for any inconvenience to the RMA, artists, fans, patrons, military, and families who planned on attending this event. The Executive Producer of the event, Jerry Payne, President and Founder of the United States Entertainment Force, made the announcement at 6:30pm Saturday, to cancel the remainder of Saturday’s show as well as Sunday’s because of the storm that occurred Friday which caused structural damage to the site, coupled with the freeze that occurred during the event yesterday.
However, sources close to the WUMF who have asked to remain confidential say that the festival could have easily continued and were stunned that the artists, employees, volunteers and vendors were given no warning before being asked to leave. Several of the bands contracted to play made an effort to perform at local venues for their fans. As of press time no times or locations for these performances can be confirmed.
Another consequence of the festival being closed down was the cancellation of a surprise appearance by current Ms. America, Jane Park Smith. Other consequences include the loss to local business that agreed to sponsor the event. However, the deepest consequence may be the loss of proceeds from ticket sales that would have gone to military families whose loved ones have been wounded overseas.
“We had an amazing show set up, we really did,” said a WUMF source who requested to remain anonymous.
As of yet no date has been set for a second festival.
by Sean Wardwell
(Photo by Christina Zambrano)Email | Print