Soul festival offers refunds after no-shows

Staff WriterAugust 30, 2009 

— Hundreds of frustrated concert-goers lined up for refunds after several advertised acts at a music festival on Saturday failed to show up.

People attending the Soul Music Festival said the show began late and that performers they had expected to see had not appeared.

"This is ridiculous," said Cynthia Benjamin of Raleigh. "A waste of my time. We sat on the grass out here all day for nothing."

As the day went on, word spread among patrons at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek that they could get their money back -- but only if they had purchased their tickets at the pavilion box office. Those who bought them in advance were given a slip of paper with a phone number to call later.

The festival was to begin at 2 p.m., but people in the audience say the first act did not go on until 3:30. By 9 p.m., only three of the 10 advertised performers -- Monica, Ginuwine and Charlie Wilson -- had gone on stage, and it was not clear which, if any, of the others would perform before the concert's end at 11 p.m.

The other listed performers were Big Daddy Kane, Chaka Khan, Chuck Brown, Doug E. Fresh, Musiq Soulchild, Rob Base and Slick Rick.

Frederick Lawrence, 23, of Franklinton said he bought three tickets at $36 a piece. Lawrence said he met people who drove to the concert from Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

"As long as I get my money back it will be all right," he said. "There are a lot of mad people. They really messed it up."

Melissa Peoples of Durham said announcers told the crowd multiple times that most of the performers would be on the stage soon.

"I kept waiting, and they never showed up," Peoples said. "There were a lot of people I had never heard of."

Concert organizers were not available to answer questions Saturday, but Bob Robinson, executive director of RBTC, a co-sponsor, issued a statement.

"Some of the scheduled acts did not make it on stage as planned which resulted in the decision to provide refunds for fans that chose not to stay for the other performers," Robinson said. "The performers that did perform met the expectations of the fans."

ray.martin@newsobserver.com or 919-836-4952

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