No Comeback For CountryLife

A country music festival that debuted this year at the Florida Tracks & Trails park near Fort Meyers, Fla., will not make a repeat performance next year.

The CountryLife Music Festival drew thousands for a lineup that included Reba, Big & Rich, Hank Williams Jr. and others.

But the promoter of the fest, Blu Entertainment, failed to come up with the funds to pay the headliner, Reba. The park ended up footing the bill so the singer would still take the stage and then received a reimbursement check, which turned out to be worthless.

New reports show the artists weren’t the only ones left high and dry during the fest.

Park co-manager Bjorn Rosinus told the local News Press vendors, advertisers and others involved with the fest also went unpaid.

“They didn’t pay anybody,” Rosinus said. “I haven’t heard of anybody that actually got paid.”

He noted the park ended up coughing up about $200,000 extra during the fest that Blu Entertainment couldn’t cover.

Florida Tracks isn’t planning on filing a lawsuit against Blu Entertainment, Rosinus said, adding there’s little chance of actually seeing any money returned.

“We don’t feel like there’s anything to go after,” he said.

Meanwhile in Illinois, Blu Entertainment is under investigation by the state Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau for another version of CountryLife that was canceled before it ever took place.

A source reportedly close to the matter told the Peoria Journal Star performers were supposed to be paid six weeks before the fest to the tune of a more than $1 million, but ticket sales had only generated about $650,000 at that point and artists began withdrawing.

The investigation into the promoter began after numerous consumer complaints were raised over refunds.