Recent news saw Aussie tour promoters putting Latino rapper Pitbull in the doghouse for cancelling on an Australian tour, after his manager (*ahem*), Purple used “something doesn’t feel right” as an excuse for pulling the plug on a prior commitment. The promoters then sought damages after ticket sales stiffed, to the tune of $200,000.
Now, another commercial rapper is about to get his come uppence, at nearly double that figure, for similarly ghosting on a 2011 concert appearance.
The Age reports that rapper Flo Rida, or Tramar Dillard to his mother, and his management have been ordered by a court hearing to pay more than $400,000 to organisers of Newcastle’s Fat As Butter festival for not fulfilling his scheduled slot last year, pulling out just two hours before he was due on stage.
The 32-year-old superstar managed to anger many of the 11,000-strong crowd – who’d payed upwards of $110 a ticket – after presenters told the amassed crowd, “Flo Rida has slept in and will not be able to make the concert.”
Festival organisers, Mothership Music, reportedly tried everything they could to transport the headliner from Sydney to the Newcastle event, apologising profusely over social media to the many disgruntled punters, attempting to sue Flo Rida and his management, VIP Entertainment and Concepts, only for the rapper to evade lawyers over his shonky commitments, until he was eventually served with papers over Facebook.
Handing down her decision last week, Judge Judith Gibson finally put paid to Dillard and his management for their inability to attend both the Fat As Butter appearance, but also a NSW District Court hearing.
Judge Gibson found in favour of Mothership Music, who were seeking damages for the 2000 patrons who had departed the festival over the cancellation, as well as dealing with “all of these angry patrons [who] demanded a refund,” says Gibson, “sometimes in confronting language, such as: ‘You guys didn’t deliver what you advertised and I paid for’… people spoke of being “angry”, feeling “ripped off”, being told “bullshit” and “unfair and slack conduct.”
Flo Rida, and his Australian representative, Darren Ayre, were ordered to make an upfront payment of $55,000 to Mothership Music, as well as almost $7,000 spent on air fares, “appropriate motor vehicles” and hospitality for Dillard and his entourage.
On top of that, Flo Rida and his managment were ordered to pay $380,400 in damages and $37,745 in legal fees for loss of revenue, poor ticket sales and lost sponsorship over Flo Rida’s notorious no-show.
In her hearing, Judge Gibson noted “sponsors were lost as news of the no-show spread far and wide through the use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.” Adding that “the no-show by Flo Rida damaged the trading reputation of the plaintiff, impacting its ability to stage future events, attract patrons and compete with rivals in the music event industry.”
It should be no surprise to learn that Fat As Butter’s 2012 lineup contains a lack of international rappers after the whole Flo Rida debacle, focussing instead on international rock bands (Good Charlotte, Yellowcard, Mystery Jets), homegrown acts (The Rubens, Grinspoon) and a good serving of nineties nostalgia (Eiffel 65, Wheatus and N-Trance FTW).
It’s not the first time that the world of hip hop and rap has burnt Australian fans with their lacklustre touring commitments. The supa-failure that was Supa Fest is testament to that; with thousands of ticket holders who were ripped off when a number of the headliners, such P, Diddy and Missy Elliot, were pulled off the lineup to cut costs, or because they had simply never been booked. With its organisers now swamped in bitter legal battles.
Then there was the company responsible for putting on the failed Heatwave festival, who declared bankruptcy last January, unable to honour its outstanding financial commitments.
Made insolvent following its disastrous event that we declared a disaster waiting to happen, which it was, with our review commenting on the poorly organised event: “Do you enjoy throwing away your hard earned money? How about not getting what you paid for?… [then] Heatwave Festival may have just been the thing for you.”