Voodoo Having Bad Experience

By the end of business day March 30, the Voodoo Experience will be either a go or canceled because of a mixup between promoter Rehage Entertainment and New Orleans’ City Park.

This year’s Voodoo Experience was originally scheduled for Oct. 23-25 in City Park, the location of the festival for the past decade. Promoter Stephen Rehage has a nine-year contract with City Park, with a handshake agreement on where in the park the event will take place each year (the event has moved around inside the park since 2005 when it was flooded by Hurricane Katrina).

Rehage had a good working relationship with the executives who run the property but something went awry when he switched the dates to Halloween weekend. 

“It made better sense for Halloween,” Rehage told the Times-Picayune. His company’s director of production called the park’s special events director in January and confirmed there were no other events, such as a wedding, on the books for Oct. 30 to Nov. 1. Rehage moved the date, booked KISS as the Halloween night headliner and filled his lineup.

City Park CEO Bob Becker told the Times-Picayune no one from his office approved the change and there are four weddings and a fund-raiser contracted for Halloween weekend.

“We’ve done that before,” Becker said, “and ended up refunding money. We schedule far in advance so we won’t have conflicting events.”

Rehage is in a tough spot, having paid nonrefundable deposits and nowhere else to hold the event. Artists have already cleared their calendars for the weekend and would not be able to switch back to the previous dates. If no resolution is passed by March 27, Rehage may pull the plug.

“I’m surprised where we are,” Rehage said. “It was partly us and partly them. Two people who have worked together for years made a mistake in communication.”

City Park Improvement Association President Mike Marsiglia was expected to call a meeting where Rehage and Becker could meet face to face and hash it out.

Rehage, who was unavailable at press time for further comment, told the Times-Picayune he has resolved issues scheduling conflicts with City Park in years past.

“I don’t know what else is out there,” he said. “It’s frustrating that miscommunication and a couple of weddings – although I know the importance of weddings – may end up making Voodoo go away.”