The Reunion That Wasn’t

Organizers of “The Reunion Concert” – a country and Southern gospel music festival in Orlando, Fla.’s Reunion Park – cited “numerous twists and turns,” including several artist cancellations, for having to pull the plug the day before the Oct. 16-17 event was to begin.

Jerry Bryant of Entam Productions posted apologies to fans, vendors and advertisers, saying he is “sincerely devastated” about the cancellation.

“I worked on this project since October of last year, nothing in my life really mattered other than making this event happen,” Bryant wrote on the Reunion website.

The first sign of trouble for the festival may have come when reps for Jerry Lee Lewis confirmed his appearance, only to cancel in January citing a scheduling conflict.

The original festival location then had to be moved when the state reportedly decided to use federal stimulus money to develop the site. With the move to Reunion Park, and the loss of a headliner, advertising and printed materials had to be re-done to reflect the changes.

Then, according to the Reunion website, a date for Lewis was renegotiated with “another agent,” only to fall through a second time.

Randy Owen, formerly of country group Alabama, reportedly was the next to cancel. This time, it cost not only another reprinting of advertising materials, but two major investors bolted as well. All told, Entam lost “an additional $200,000 in changing of all advertising media,” according to the website.

“This event’s ticket sales were strong enough to justify the continued efforts to make it happen,” Bryant wrote. “Artists were arriving as advertised for this event however certain elements that were to help make it all come together started falling apart on [Oct. 13] and we could not recover, which was finally realized on [Oct. 15].”

Others slated to be on the bill included George Jones, Tanya Tucker, Mickey Gilley and Alabama’s Jeff Cook, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Tickets can be refunded at the point of purchase, and those who bought tickets via the Reunion website are required to return their tickets by mail to the Entam Concerts & Productions address posted on the site.

For his part, Bryant is determined to make sure everyone is paid back, from fans to vendors.

“My heartfelt sorrow and apologies for having to cancel this event and I will never be able to recover until everyone involved is refunded with their ticket purchases to vendor fees and to investor moneys,” Bryant wrote on the Reunion website.

“I have had many a sleepless night over this event throughout the year that I have worked on this event. I would sincerely appreciate your prayers and with God’s help I will make this right for everyone involved.”