Tom Bunch was enlisted by Mark Lacy, director of The Houston Institute For Culture, to produce the Lone Star music festival on the city’s Discovery Green in November.
The show was supposed to feature artists including blink-182, Steve Aoki, and Sublime With Rome, among others, but was canceled weeks after being announced. When fans grew frustrated over issues obtaining refunds, the Institute For Culture issued a statement that seemed to point the cause of the organization’s refund troubles at Bunch, noting that when he notified artists of the cancellation he “announced that he was no longer involved in the event, which left the organization with substantial debt.”
However, Bunch told Pollstar that he never had “any access to bank accounts, had only partial financial information and have never signed checks or had check writing privileges. All expenses and decisions had to be approved by Mr. Lacy, as he was the keeper of the budget and the bank account. All refunds, therefore, are Mr. Lacy’s responsibility.”
Bunch noted his duties were to “contract the venue, hire sound, lights, staging, equipment and staff required by the musicians and the venue. I assisted with marketing and talent buying, along with Mr. Lacy and two other talent buyers “I also secured investments for up-front costs and sponsorships, using my personal contacts, as I believed this event would be successful for Houston and all involved and I believed Mr. Lacy was doing the same, as per our agreement,” he said.
When Lacy decided to cancel the event 60 days out, Bunch explained, he, several other talent buyers, and some artists’ booking agents attempted to convince Lacy to proceed with the event but “he refused and told me to call Discovery Green and cancel.”
Bunch notified the venue.
“By this time I had worked full time, for approximately six months without pay,” he said. “With the cancellation my contract with HIFC was over with no expectation of receiving any payment for my work.
“As completion to my contract I issued an amiable and professional statement to the musicians, venders and companies I had been working with informing them of the cancellation. Mr. Lacy approved this statement. This is the same statement that Mr. Lacy then used to say that I had cancelled the event. This is totally and completely untrue,” Bunch said.
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