A benefit concert for veterans was slated to take place in Illinois earlier this month starring Toby Keith, but the gig was abruptly cancelled after the promoter ran off with the money.
The Freedom and Dignity Festival, featuring Keith and Clay Walker, was set to take place at Boomers Stadium on Saturday, August 10. Proceeds from the show were going toward a Wheaton foundation to support veterans.
Dan Gibbons, who runs the Turkey Trot Foundation and Cafe Liberty, a program that provides culinary training for veterans, was approached by Imagn Media & Events back in January, WGNTV reports. Imagn Media, a promoter from Winfield, inquired about putting on a show and Gibbons trusted them, as they were veterans working to help other veterans. In order to secure the talent, Imagn requested a $250,000 loan from Gibbons to fulfill financial obligations, and Gibbons agreed, wiring the company the money in March.
While Gibbons was supposed to be paid back five months later, Imagn defaulted on the loan on August 1 and requested $400,000 more in order to move forward with the event. Gibbons declined and called-off the show, telling WGNTV that he was “heartbroken, especially for the people we were going to help.” Now, his organization is out $340,000 and ticket sales from EventSprout had exceeded $287,000, which is now unaccounted for.
“Over the past week, it became clear that no one would see the music festival as planned,” Gibbons said in a release. “Problems that arose led to significant concerns that those materially supporting the event would not be compensated and that Imagn Events was unable to deliver on its obligations to provide an enjoyable event for all attendees and performers. On August 6, 2019, the Foundation terminated the agreement with Imagn Events. Unfortunately, Imagn Events continued to sell tickets.”
Ticketholders did not receive any notification from Imagn about the cancellation, and now its website, along with all social media pages, have been deleted.
Keith also was not notified of the cancellation and found out through social media.
We discovered the Schaumburg, IL show was canceled like everybody else through the media. Please see below. https://t.co/7H9waUY2aS
— Toby Keith (@tobykeith) August 8, 2019
Fans are still concerned about how to receive refunds. In a release, Gibbons told ticketholders to reach out to Mike Birt of Imagn Events or contact [email protected] However, no one has heard back from Birt or the company. DGTT Foundation wrote in a Facebook post last week that Imagn accused the foundation of “serious breaches of their obligations to ticket holders, vendors, and promoters,” which DGTT says is false and has retained counsel to address the matter. At this time, the foundation has requested a refund plan from Imagn.
Photo: Toby Keith via Flickr user Charles Thompson