Eventbrite to refund Roxodus tickets, will 'aggressively pursue' organizers

Earlier this week, organizers MF Live announced that the summer music festival slated to happen at the Edenvale Aerodrome near Barrie was cancelled. Now, Eventbrite will refund ticket holders, but vendors and local bands out of luck.

Organizers of four-day mega festival say they invested millions -- 'lost it all'

Organizers cancelled the Roxodus Music Fest due to rainy weather. No information on ticket refunds has been released yet. (Submitted)

California-based ticketing website Eventbrite says it will refund people who bought tickets to the cancelled Roxodus music festival in Ontario.

Eventbrite says it has created a special fund to compensate ticket holders and they should see transfers on their credit cards or bank statements within seven business days.

"After multiple attempts to communicate and secure funds back from the Roxodus organizers, they have provided no indication that they will refund ticket holders," Amanda Livingood, Eventbrite spokesperson, told CBC Toronto on Saturday.

Livingood said the company will "continue to aggressively pursue" refunds from the festival organizers. 

The four-day event was to feature headline acts Aerosmith, Nickelback and Alice Cooper next weekend at the Edenvale Aerodome Airport in Clearview Township, northwest of Barrie, Ont.

But on Wednesday,  MF Live Inc., a live entertainment company, announced that the event had been cancelled due to recent wet weather. It said organizers could not get the 170-hectare venue ready in time.

Initially, on the Roxodus website, the company said it would release information about ticket refunds soon, but it has since removed the reference to refunds.

In an email statement to CBC Toronto, Fab Loranger of MF Live Inc. said he is pleased to learn that ticket holders will have their money refunded.

"That of course, is the most important thing," he said. "We invested millions of dollars … We lost it all. We can't comment any further at this point."

Joe Lamanna, part of a group of 10 people planning to attend the festival, said he is happy to be getting a refund at least on his tickets. The group had booked an AirBnB, bought parking passes and booked time off from work.

"We only spent $360, but I felt really, really bad for four other people for how much money they spent. They spent thousands and thousands of dollars, and you know, it's not cheap," Lamanna said.

"This shouldn't go unpunished," he added.

Many other fans expressed their anger on a public Facebook page.

Organizers claimed more than 20,000 weekend passes have been sold.

As well, organizers said many of the headline acts had been paid in advance, but that's not the case for all of the bands that were booked.

Rose Cora Perry and Tyler Randall of The Truth Untold turned down two other gigs to play Roxodus. (Submitted by Rose Cora Perry)

When singer-songwriter Rose Cora Perry of London and her band The Truth Untold were asked to play Roxodus, they jumped at the chance.

"We actually had cancelled two other shows to participate in this one," Perry said. "Obviously, you know, when people flag the name Aerosmith in front of you, you jump at that opportunity."

But the festival was cancelled before the band could sign a contract with organizers.

"Now all I have is an email saying, 'Yes, this is when you're playing and this is what we're promising to pay you,'" Perry said.

At least one other local band is in the same situation, she said. Now they are out-of-pocket for rehearsal time, the cost of an additional musician and other expenses, she said.

Perry said she has seen a lot of ticket holders posting that they think that the musicians should still perform because they've all been paid.

"That's absolutely not the case for all of us," she said.

Clearview mayor 'waiting to hear like everybody else'

Clearview Mayor Doug Measures says a special event agreement signed with organizers guarantees that the township will not be on the hook.

He said hasn't heard from MF Live Inc. since it cancelled nine days before the event.

"Literally, I got nothing. I have no information. I'm waiting to hear like everybody else," he said.

Alan Cross, Toronto broadcaster and music historian says such mega-festivals are complicated and difficult to produce. (Rachel Houlihan/CBC )

Well-known Canadian music broadcaster Alan Cross was looking forward to acting as emcee at Roxodus.

"There were no red flags at all," he told host Reshmi Nair on CBC Radio's Here and Now. "There was absolutely no indication that there was anything going wrong."

Cross said now he can't get hold of anybody. Emails and voicemail are going unreturned.

But Cross said big festivals like this are a huge undertaking and much can go wrong.

Something this complicated and this big is going to take a little while to unwind.- Alan Cross, music broadcaster

"They require a tremendous amount of money. You have to have very deep pockets and they also require a lot of patience and steady nerves," he said.

As for what happened to Roxodus, Cross says it may take to some time to sort out.

"Something this complicated and this big is going to take a little while to unwind," he said.

As for Perry, she says reading the posts from people who were planning their summer around this festival is painful.

"I saw one woman's post about how she just got diagnosed with cancer and this was going to be something on her bucket list," said Perry.

"It breaks my heart as a musician because I would love to have performed for those people."


Philip Lee-Shanok

Senior Reporter, CBC Toronto

From small town Ontario to Washington D.C., Philip has covered stories big and small. An award-winning reporter with more than two decades of experience in Ontario and Alberta, he's now a Senior Reporter for the National Network based in Toronto. His stories are on CBC Radio's World Report, World This Hour, World at Six and The World This Weekend as well as CBC TV's The National and CBC News Online. Follow him on Twitter @CBCPLS.


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