Uh-oh.... What's that loud grumbling sound? New Times is hearing from people who bought tickets to the once-mighty Langerado Music Festival, which was scheduled for March 6 through 8, but abruptly canceled this year. Some music fans say they are not getting refunds they were promised.
Would-be concertgoers hoped to see Death Cab for Cutie, Snoop Dogg, The Pogues, Girl Talk and dozens of other artists confirmed for Langerado this year. It made sense to buy early, since ticket prices jumped as time went on. Local attorney Gabe Ermine says, "The $120 tickets sold out. Then the tickets priced at $135 sold out. I bought mine at $150." But when the festival was ixnayed, what was his reward for being an early investor? Ermine says he got stiffed.
Ermine -- whose story was seconded by others complaining to New Times -- paid $300 but was refunded only $269.50, meaning he's out more than 30 bucks. "In this economy?!" he cried. It would be fair, Ermine says, if that's what he'd agreed to in advance. But when he bought his tickets, he read a screen that said in plain English, "You will receive a full refund for the face value of the ticket in the event that the show is canceled." Only now is Langerado.com saying, "Each order will be refunded to the credit card in full, minus the included order processing fees."
So far, Langerdo promoter Ethan Schwartz has not responded to a phone call and e-mail. A representative of Music Today, the subsidiary of LiveNation that handled ticket sales, refused to comment and referred us back to Schwartz. In years of dealing with Schwartz, who also promotes shows via South Florida Jams, New Times has found him to be a nice, enthusiastic guy who did more than almost anyone for the local music scene. We can only imagine how much he must have lost in deposits.
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But some online commentators have less sympathy for the promoter, alleging that his profit last year was over $4 million. They say Schwartz's festival failed this year because he changed the Langerado venue from the Big Cypress Reserve, where camping was allowed, to downtown Miami, meaning that fans would have to spring for hotel rooms on top of pricey tickets and, in some cases, airfare.
Ermine, who is an attorney, says that the ticket holders have little recourse for getting their money back, unless someone launches a class-action lawsuit. "Even small claims court," he says, "there's a $80 filing fee. It's almost not worth it." Fo shizzle, as Snoop would say. We're all dizzle-pointed.
The upside is that some of the bands that were going to hit Langerado have moved their shows to other local venues. Look for Girl talk at the Culture Room, Modest Mouse at Revolution and King Khan at the Vagabond. It'll be cheaper to see them this way!