SFX Fests Get Funds, Not Staff

The show will go on for many SFX Entertainment fests, despite the company’s bankruptcy, but the same can’t be said for its New York staff – all 36 of whom are to be laid off from SFX’s Manhattan headquarters by July.

SFX notified the New York State Department of Labor that the staff will be let go in July as a consequence of the Feb. 1 bankruptcy filing. In addition, CEO Robert Sillerman officially vacated that position March 31. Mike Katzenstein of FTI Consulting, already serving as chief restructuring officer, took over as interim CEO April 1, according to the New York Business Journal.

The fate of SFX-owned festivals like Electric Zoo is at least in somewhat less doubt with the authorization by U.S. bankruptcy judge Mary Walrath of a $15 million “artist carve out” – money set aside to make advance payments to artists.

Headliners can look forward to 25 percent of their booking fee prior to lineup announcements, 50 percent 30 days out from the event and the final 25 percent prior to the performance date, according to the New York Post.

The tabloid also reports that court filings inadvertently included 11 pages of unannounced summer festival lineups before the exhibit was pulled. SFX will need a very profitable summer in order to more quickly emerge from bankruptcy, giving agencies a nice fat carrot to dangle in front of the promoter in order to get favorable bookings, the Post suggests.

“The profitability of these shows hinges, in significant part, on the artists performing and their ability to attract large numbers of fans,” SFX lawyer Dennis Meloro reportedly wrote in support of the motion to guarantee advance payments.