Bobby’s Unhappy Birthday

A would-be concert producer hoping to put on a free three-day country music festival at Colorado’s Mesa County Fairgrounds still hadn’t paid $175,000 in fees and deposits at press time for licenses to stage “Bobby’s Birthday Bash.”

Bobby Willis, who is presumably hoping to celebrate a birthday in Grand Junction, Colo., is finding the concert business isn’t as easy as throwing a big party. He has already been forced to cut back the planned Birthday Bash, which is scheduled June 23-25 at the fairgrounds.

The festival lineup includes Roy Clark, David Frizzell, Johnny Lee, T.G. Sheppard, Jett Williams, Bobby Bare, Bellamy Brothers, John Conlee, Moe Bandy, Katrina Elam, Sammy Kershaw, John Michael Montgomery, Don Williams, Darryl Worley and many others.

Willis was first forced to cut back his attendance estimates from 20,000 to 12,000, according to Grand Junction Sentinel. Then he dropped plans to serve alcohol and run a park-and-ride service. The number of available recreational vehicle reservations dropped from 266 to 154.

But it appears the biggest obstacle for Willis is money.

Donna Ross, Mesa County’s acting regional services director, told the Sentinel that the county gave Willis a May 23 deadline to come up with a $100,000 cash deposit and $75,000 in fees for a facility use license granted by the county in April.

The deadline passed, but an attorney for Willis told the Sentinel there had been a “miscommunication about the method of payment” and assured it the payment would be completed the following day. But three days later the paper reported the county was still waiting.

Without the fee payment, the county can cancel the facility use license it granted to Willis and effectively cancel Bobby’s Bash, making for one very unhappy birthday.