A Warped Cancellation & A HUKA Connection

Although Wilmington, N.C., is the second HUKA Entertainment-promoted

The show at Legion Stadium in Wilmington, N.C., was canceled Thursday, just a few days before the Fourth of July show. Lyman said he offered to personally fly out to the city to make things right but that the venue said it was too late.

The only other Warped show that HUKA was involved with was the New Orleans-market stop June 28 in Metairie, La., at The Shrine On Airline. That event was canceled three weeks ago, with an announcement from Warped Tour blaming “circumstances out of our control.”

Lyman explained that following the news that the HUKA-promoted Pemberton Music Festival was being called off and filing for bankruptcy in mid-May, he was told that HUKA was in trouble and that the Warped stops in Metairie and Wilmington might not play. Lyman reached out to Ticketfly CEO Andrew Dreskin about refunds and was told that all of the Warped ticket funds had already been advanced to HUKA.

“Are you kidding me? … No money for refunds? I’m going to have to go out of pocket or I would [have],” Lyman said. “I think everyone who knows me in the business knows I would not burn a fan. Never have. Never will.”

Fortunately, HUKA chairman A.J. Niland ended up calling Lyman and promising to send over the money to cover the canceled tickets for the Metairie show, which was nixed for a number of reasons including “it was very costly, it was a tricky venue and then ticket sales weren’t so great for that show.”

“Which at that point I didn’t know if [Niland] had any money,” Lyman said. “I just think he did that to try and do the right thing.”

An hour before refunds for Metairie were issued, Lyman said that “most of the money” hit the bank account.

Meanwhile, Lyman said he decided to assume the risk for the Wilmington show and back it “100 percent.” While Warped would pay all the bills, Lyman said HUKA was named as promoter, in part “because you have to have a business license in North Carolina to do business in North Carolina” and Warped didn’t have that, being a touring entity.

The plan fell through when Lyman was forwarded an email June 29 saying the city of Wilmington was canceling that show. He notes, “I think they just got nervous. I think [the city] looked into who HUKA Entertainment is, which all you have to do is Google, and then freaked out.”

Lyman got a representative for the city on the phone yesterday: “I said, ‘Look, I had no inclination that this show was going to be canceled. Not one iota, not a warning. I’ve had warnings in my 35 years in the business and you go fix it. If you need me to come to Wilmington today, I’ll fly there or we’ll send someone there. If you need us to pay 100 percent of the operating costs of the show up front, we’ll have it there in the morning.’ But basically the city was like, ‘There’s not enough time to make this right because we’re into a holiday weekend.’”

He adds, “So now we have to prepare for another cancellation. And there was a lot of money in limbo between Ticketfly and HUKA. I really wanted to do the show. I think the kids would have loved it. It was a cool little venue. Everyone was excited about going. We were going to do our service day.

“When everything went down, Andrew Dreskin from Ticketfly did what I feel is the right thing because he’s got to figure out his deal with HUKA. He stepped up and said Ticketfly would back the refunds.”

Although Lyman says that the cancellation is “a total bummer” for fans, the silver lining is that Live Nation offered to open up the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, N.C., early so that the bands have somewhere to stay ahead of the July 6 stop in the city.  

Also, many of the bands have been able to book club gigs to make up for the Wilmington appearance.  

“I think [it’s] very sad this all happened but people did try to do the right thing,” Lyman said. “I’ve tried to do the right thing all my life. Maybe once in a while it pays off when you have a mess up like this when everyone got it and worked together in the best possible way. Because immediately … everyone was, like, ‘No problem, Kevin. We’re here for you.’”

Wilmington Star reports that community services director Amy Beatty provided the following explanation for the Wilmington cancellation to Deputy Wilmington City Manager Tony Caudle in an email: “I made the decision to cancel the Vans Warped Tour concert (Thursday) because the promoter, HUKA Entertainment, missed a drop dead date to submit the necessary insurance certificate to accompany the license agreement.”

The paper added that Betty said HUKA submitted a certificate of insurance “under a third party name, which is not permitted” and requested to enter into a new agreement three business days before the concert – which “would be an impossible task.”

Ticketholders can exchange their Wilmington ticket at any other Warped Tour stop. Refunds are available via Ticketfly. A post on Warped Tour’s website recommends that fans send in their order number and/or original confirmation email when contacting [email protected]. Fans who purchased a ticket at a Journeys store can mail their physical ticket and information to Warped producer CCRL.