Vendors ask for help from Action News after music fest doesn't happen
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Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Las Vegas is often considered the entertainment capital of the world. So when several local businesses heard about a music festival expected to draw thousands, they eagerly signed up to be vendors. But when it didn't happen, they wanted to know where their money went.
"The advertising on the website I saw the crowd, the amount of people in [the] crowd and you know I reached out," said Robyn Jackson.
She reached out to be part of what was being billed as the hottest three-day launch part in Vegas on Sincitymusicfest.com
Celebrities like dancer Mark Ballas and bands including The People's Whiskey and pop music group Blush were listed as making guest appearances. The event had two vendors seeing dollar signs.
"Supposedly 50,000 people," explained Corby Chaney, a vendor.
"They told me the MGM was sponsoring this event," said Robyn.
Robyn wanted to park her mobile desert ice truck front and center where all the entertainment would happen July 4th weekend.
"She even took us over to the lot where it was going to be happening," explained Robyn.
A lot that is across from Mandalay Bay and owned by MGM. Robyn paid $1800 in May to Bridgette Bledsoe, a producer for Sin City Music Fest. Caterer Corby Chaney signed up even earlier in April.
"I thought $2,000 was a small price to pay for something like that," said Corby.
Contact 13 obtained an email from Bridgette to another vendor. On June 19, she writes she's "finishing things up at MGM." But with just two weeks to go, Robyn still didn't have any details.
"I had gone online to send information to family members that wanted to come and support this event. Noticed that the dates had changed," said Robyn.
So had the location, according to sincitymusicfest.com, a magazine ad, and press release. All said the Sin City Music Fest launch party was now taking place Aug. 23 to Aug. 25, this time at The Cosmopolitan. Corby asked Bridgette why the change.
"She made it sound like this was the better thing to do which is why she switched but I doubt that was the case," said Corby.
Action News learned the event couldn't have happened at the lot. The MGM tells us Bridgette was all talk. They never had a signed contract with her or Sin City Music Fest and no money was ever put down.
According to their representatives, Mark Ballas and The People's Whiskey couldn't do the August date, but Sin City's web site still listed them. Robyn also backed out after the dates changed.
"She assured me that I would get my money back," said Robyn.
Bridgette sent her a letter saying a refund check would be cut on July 15th.
"I haven't received anything," said Robyn.
Neither Bridgette nor her co-worker Keith Bowden would go on camera or do a phone interview. They'd only answer questions via email. Bridgette claims they never told vendors the MGM lot was a sure thing, saying they had several options in mind. So why collect money for an event with no confirmed location? Bridgette didn't answer that. But she did send us a signed contract with The Cosmopolitan.
Bridgette says she didn't advertise The Cosmopolitan until the contract was signed. But contracts don't mean much unless there's money to back them up.
According to a Cosmopolitan spokesperson, Bridgette and Sin City Music Fest Entertainment Group got a letter on Aug. 14 saying they failed to pay the two deposits they owed. Because of that, the contract was immediately canceled. Bridgette claims contract changes and possible picketing in front of The Cosmopolitan are the reasons she decided not to have the event there.
"It makes me furious to know that possibly people could be buying tickets," said Robyn.
Tickets that went for as much as $500 according to the website. They were still being sold online just days before the launch party that had already been canceled. Bridgette says their webmaster had trouble getting into the site to change everything, but eventually did change it. Up until Sept. 12 the site said, "Thank you Las Vegas for our best weekend ever." Thanks for what? Bridgette didn't answer.
"There might have been an attempt to really do this festival," said Steve Temes.
Steve believed in Bridgette when he subleased office space to her in February. But soon that deal went south too.
"She's four months late on rent so I mean at this point it's the boy who cried wolf. I just don't believe anything that I'm hearing," said Steve.
Like in an Aug. 20 email where Bridgette wrote to Steve that she was in the hospital because "the stress of the project finally took a toll on my body." She also wrote "give me today to get everything paid and back on track." Steve hasn't seen the money or Bridgette for months.
Bridgette blames a malfunctioning air conditioner for keeping her out of the office most of the summer. She also says some of her stuff has gone missing, but admits she hasn't reported anything to police. In late August, Steve switched the locks and is looking for a new tenant.
"I did not think it would end this way," said Robyn.
Neither Robyn or Corby thought they'd get their money back. But days after Action News reached Bridgette and Keith, the two vendors who asked us to investigate got refunds. Bridgette says that is just a coincidence.
Bridgette tells us she was a bit ambitious believing they could pull off a festival in six months. She says they need time to perfect details. Their web site now says Summer 2014 and we'll be watching to see if Sin City Music Fest ever happens.
Were you a vendor? Did you buy tickets? If so, send an email to email@example.com and be sure to include your phone number.