Eventbrite (NYSE: EB) is looking to recoup the heavy cost of refunding ticket purchasers for the failed Roxodus music festival in July with a pair of lawsuits, filed in California. The San Francisco-based ticketing company is suing the event organizers, which it claims kept nearly $4 million in customer money when the festival was abruptly cancelled in July.
Eventbrite refunded consumers more than $3.8 million “out of its own coffers to ensure its users did not suffer additional harm at Defendants’ hands,” the lawsuit reads, per a story in Billboard. “Defendants are contractually and legally obligated to reimburse Eventbrite for these expenditures and other damages Eventbrite has incurred in the course of protecting its customers from further harm caused by Defendants’ bad faith and unlawful conduct.”
The promoters, Fab Loranger and Michael Dunphy of MF Live, have until Thursday to answer the lawsuits.
Set for an airport venue 90 minutes outside of Toronto, the event was scheduled to feature Nickelback, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kid Rock, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Billy Idol and Blondie. But the event was cancelled with no warning on July 3, just over a week before the scheduled opening on July 11. Eventbrite lawyers have characterized the failed event as the “Canadian version of the much-publicized Fyre Festival debacle of 2017… [a] poorly-orchestrated sequel with lower production value.”
Once the event was cancelled, Eventbrite says it found that only one of a dozen required permits for the event had been received, and construction on the makeshift venue was well behind the established schedule, despite the promoters asking for and receiving an increased pre-payment of ticket sale proceeds during the months leading up to the promotion.
“The sole route into or out of the Roxodus site — was incapable of handling even a fraction of the traffic Roxodus would have created,” the suit alleges. “In short, in order to unjustly enrich themselves, Defendants lied to the public, Eventbrite, the artists who were to perform at Roxodus, food and hospitality vendors, and countless others.”
Eventbrite is suing for breach of contract and breach of faith. A victory and recouping of some of the cost of providing refunds to consumers that it has yet to be reimbursed for would go a long way for the ticketing company, which has reeled in recent months, shedding all of the gains it had made since its IPO last fall in terms of share price, trading at $16.85 a share as of Tuesday afternoon – about half of its high mark of nearly $38 soon after its debut in September of 2018.