Godstock Needs Blessing

Several vendors that were set to work Godstock, a Christian festival in Joplin, Mo., have a bone to pick with Derrick Gates of OnFire Productions, the concert promoter behind the canceled three-day event.

The Joplin Police Department and the Missouri attorney general’s office are investigating complaints that Gates and associate Nena Gates owe at least five vendors more than $3,500 in deposits and merchandise for the September 14-16 event and another canceled show, according to the Joplin Globe.

Gates says he is working out a plan to repay all of the vendors in a month.

"I’ve never told any vendors that they would not get a refund," Gates told the paper. "I just told them at this point, I’m doing everything I can to get them a refund,"

One upset vendor still waiting for his money is Rick Davis, who said he and his wife, Debbie, haven’t received a refund of their $400 deposit to sell kettle corn at the festival.

"I would call them ‘Con-stock,’" Davis told the Joplin Globe. "He kept saying ‘the money is in the mail.’"

The festival, which was to include as many as 80 Christian bands and speakers such as Jay Bakker, the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, was originally set for early June. Vendors were alerted through e-mail a week before the event that the show would be postponed after changing venues from Landreth Park to the Joplin 66 Speedway.

The rescheduled show was then canceled August 27th, according to a post on the event’s MySpace page.

Donna Kennebeck, who operates a Snowflake Shaved Ice stand, said she was calling to find out when and where to set up when she found the phone numbers weren’t listed and the event’s Web site, Godstockrocks.com, had been shut down.

"It’s very poor business. They should have called and let us know," Kennebeck said.

Gates said the event was sabotaged in May by a "radical" Christian church that meets in the homes of its members, although he declined to release the identity of the group.

"We do have some parties who may be legally and financially responsible for the cancellation," Gates told the Globe. "I’m speaking to an attorney right now that’s trying to help me get some things worked out."

The promoter said the event was then rescheduled for September in hopes of raising enough money to put it on but that "too many rumors started and before we knew it, nobody wanted to be involved."

While no criminal charges or warrants have been issued for Derrick or Nena Gates, Detective Cpl. Charla Geller told the paper that they are persons of interest in the complaints.

Gates has closed OnFire Productions and is no longer in the music- or concert-promotion business.