SFX’s Very Bad Week

SFX Entertainment announced Oct. 1 it is extending for two weeks its initial bid deadline for third-party offers for the either the company or assets including Beatport, Flavorus and ID&T, on the heels of a disastrous TomorrowWorld event near Atlanta – including one death. 
Yes, a “I (Barely) Survived TomorrowWorld 2015” T-shirt is available at TeeBlaster.com.

The company, in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, cited “events occurring in September 2015, including the closing of the Company’s financing transactions on September 17…and the conclusion of the Fall festival season.”

In plain English, SFX refers to the $90 million in financing, including $30 million from CEO Robert Sillerman, who will earn nearly 30 percent interest on the deal. TomorrowWorld, which was apparently the final event of the season, was reportedly a disaster with torrential rain, mud, and one possible overdose death. SFX is offering ticket refunds to concertgoers for one day of the three-day festival. 

The remote Chattahoochie Hills, Ga., site of TommorrowWorld became a mud pit, forcing campsite, parking and road closures – in some cases, concertgoers were forced to walk as far as nine miles to get out. Mayor Tom Reid put out a call for people with tractors to assist in pulling cars out of the mess, and promised an investigation of the festival. Some 190,000 concertgoers were expected to attend the Sept. 25-27 fest, featuring a massive lineup of EDM superstars including David Guetta, Tiesto, Kaskade, Armin Van Buuren, Bassnectar and close to 100 others.

Rains soaked the grounds the day before the fest began, and by Saturday roads were impassable and shuttles were canceled, stranding thousands, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Still, the show went on. Fans were left to fend for themselves and many had to spend the night in the open, sleeping on top of cars and cardboard. One festivalgoer, 22-year-old Connor McGuinness, was taken by paramedics on Saturday to nearby WellStar Hospital for a suspected drug overdose. He was transferred to Emory University in Atlanta where he died in hospice care, Atlanta’s WSB-TV reported Oct. 1.

“They put us through hell,” concertgoer Cassie Foley told the AJC. “They won’t take ownership for what happened. They knew well in advance it was going to be raining. They knew how many people were coming. Their choices were very poor and their lack of action was even worse.” SFX did issue a statement and offered refunds for those who purchased tickets, parking and other passes for Sunday only.

“First of all we would like to sincerely apologize for the inconveniences due to the weather conditions and to all who couldn’t be part of the 3rd day of TomorrowWorld 2015,” reads a post on the TomorrowWorld website. “Continuous and unexpected rainfall over the last three days has severely limited capacity of the parking lots, entrance roads, and drop off locations in and around the festival site, and has led to severe traffic congestion. The experience and safety of the TomorrowWorld visitors is and always was our top priority.”

The website then listed the eligible purchases for refund. TomorrowWorld, a cashless festival, sold units it called “pearls” that were loaded onto wristbands, including “bonus pearls” that its website says will not be refunded. Other transactions will be refunded for a transaction fee.