Earlier this month, the Blues Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas was cut short by local Fire Marshals for overcrowding and fire hazards. Hundreds of ticketed fans never even got through the door. Now, local news site CBS11 says that these fans are awaiting refunds they may never see.
Dallas-based promoter Alton Linwood organized the concert that brought together six popular blues artists at Forth Worth’s Guys and Dolls Ballroom on Saturday, December 2. Tickets were sold starting in September in four local businesses, whose managers all said that Linwood would stop by regularly to collect the cash. One store manager says his business alone sold close to $30,000 worth of tickets.
To celebrate his wife’s birthday, one local blues fan, Altonio Douglas, bought 50 tickets to the event. He says he contacted Linwood beforehand to make sure his group could sit together at the show, and that Linwood “was very reassuring and even met with him at the venue hours before the concert to go over his concerns.”
When Douglas arrived with his party and approached Linwood at the door, however, he says he was directed to the back of the line.
“I said ‘Linwood, it’s Douglas.’ And he just looked at me like he don’t even know me.”
Twenty people in their party never even got through the door, and they’re not the only ones. The Douglas party, and hundreds of other fans who had purchased their tickets beforehand, were ignored as Linwood and his team sold tickets for $50 at the door. A dozen other people contacted Consumer Justice with similar complaints.
A few hours into the show, when 200-300 fans were still waiting to get inside, the Tarrant County Fire Marshal’s Office was called to the scene for concerns about overcrowding. A spokesman says crews estimated 2,000 people were in the building, which has a maximum occupancy of 1,670. Crews say they also found hazards inside, including fire exits blocked by chairs and trash cans and doorways hidden by curtains. Fire officials shut down the event and ordered everyone out.
Consumer Justice went to Linwood’s home to talk about the event, but his mother, with whom he lives, said he was not home. They noted that his new Maserati was parked outside.
Linwood’s mother blamed concert-goers for the event gone wrong.
“They was trying to skip each other. The police said they had 100-some calls… Fort Worth people acting silly.”
When contacted by Consumer Justice on Facebook, Linwood also blamed fights outside the venue as reason for it being shut down.
Linwood said he was paid to promote the event and gave all the money to the show’s sponsor, Barrington Lister. When asked for Lister’s phone number, he said Lister had changed it. Days later, Linwood deleted his Facebook profile.
Customers who want refunds can file a police report, says CBS11, but it will likely be considered a civil matter unless police can prove Linwood was intentionally overselling the event.