Cal Music Mess: the final word

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Well . . . it’s come and gone, and unfortunately my instincts were spot on.  Before I get  into the  gory details, I want to let it be known that even though many have called it a failure, i don’t think it was entirely. I had a good time as I know others did. I saw a handful of great bands, chatted with lots of people from the music scene, hung out with Chris Mastrovito our music columnist and appreciated the overall vibe.

So far I’ve received three letters expressing dissatisfaction (I’m understating) with the event. Two were from bands–one out of town, one local–and one was from a vendor. Words like “disaster,” and “debacle” were used.  The chief complaints were about lack of organization, closed communication channels and confusion among event staff.

Apparently Nicholby’s is only permitted to have live entertainment after 8 p.m., so all the bands who were scheduled to play there earlier than 8 (and there were many) were moved to other venues in the 11th hour.  One band arrived early to its venue to find their venue had changed (after distributing a shit ton of fliers  and sending email blasts with the original venue’s name) and there was no sound system. They had to scramble to their rehearsal space and grab a PA literally minutes before their downbeat. One local promoter decided to step in just two days before the fest and assist Rasmussen who had failed to handle basic details like ordering wristbands. There was also much confusion and inconsistency regarding wristband prices and colors etc.  I could go on but I won’t.

Mark Rasmussen will hopefully learn from his mistakes,  and he probably did other would-be event promoters a favor by making them.  Most  people I  talked to agreed that he bit off more than he could chew, but bless him for trying.  Sure the scale he attempted is something one grows into, not a starting point. Yes he used some deceptive tactics to attract sponsors, vendors and bands. But he meant well. You have to give him credit for putting it all on the line.  You have to take risks in life, it just sucks when other people suffer in the process.

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5 Responses to “Cal Music Mess: the final word”

  1. While I know it is ultimately frustrating to vendors, club owners and managers, not to mention how wrong it is to have performers scrambling when they need to be in quiet preparation to give the best show they possibly can, I was honored to hear Kasey Cubero, Emy Reynolds, April Hendrix with Baby Sister, and Santa Barbara quintet, Soul Biscuit, all of whom I would not have seen had it not been for this gargantuan effort, the California Music Festival. Additionally, I had never been into J’s Tapas, Yolie’s or the Star Lounge, so our community was served and it was wonderful to see all the restaurants and clubs full of people Friday night and all day Saturday.

    • I agree wholeheartedly, Ashford. That’s why I don’t think it was a complete failure. It’s good to hear something positive for sure.

      • My name is Allen Aue, I own an on-premise winery, ‘Squashed Grapes’, in
        Old Town Camarillo which specializes in helping people create their own
        wines and personalized labels, along with offering supplies for the home
        wine and beer maker. I was a vendor at this years ‘California Music Fest’
        and must say: It was absolutely the worst managed and organized event I’ve
        ever conducted business with. Not only that, but I feel that I was
        severely mislead (if not down-right lied to) about ticket sales, public
        access to the event, and music line-up.

        Regarding ticket sales, how could they have sold 2500 tickets on-line
        (which is one of the many numbers I was told) when that option was never
        available on-line for most of the time? And there were never more that 50 – 100 people at the Mission Park event at any given time?

        And access to the event? When I was first considering buying a vendor
        space at the event, Lori, one of the Music Fest Reps, told me that all of
        the people who were going to the Ventura Street Fair would have access to
        our booths. This was a bald-face lie. We had no access to the public
        whatsoever.

        Music Line-Up? Who’s going to pay $40 for an event that has no
        headliners? They’d promised us many well-known bands when we’d first bought our booth space. By the end of day two, they’d simply stopped charging people, and even then people weren’t coming in because there was so much going on only 20 ft away on Main St.

        I’ve since received an email from Lori, apologizing profusely and telling
        me that she was also lied to about the aforementioned topics. I’m hoping
        that with that transcript, along with all the other saved emails I have of
        other promises that were never delivered on, I may have a chance at a
        refund, although I very much doubt it.

        I feel other business owners need to discover how poorly ran this
        organization is so that they don’t have to experience the displeasure of
        doing business with them.

        Although I do still commend the concept of the entire “California Music Festival”, I wholeheartedly disagree with the way in which it was organized and managed, and the misleading, evasive ways in which the organizers conducted themselves. The little that I was able to deal with Mark Rasmussen, he acted not as a promoter of the event, but as a subordinate, always trying to pass the buck… delay a decision… Not willing to deal with the situation professionally. Again, I commend the thought of the “California Music Fest”, but I certainly hope that anybody reading this will not do business with the promoters of this event.

        Allen Aue
        Owner ~ Squashed Grapes
        2475 E. Ventura Blvd.
        Camarillo, CA 93010
        805.384.9721

  2. My name is Allen Aue, I own an on-premise winery, ‘Squashed Grapes’, in
    Old Town Camarillo which specializes in helping people create their own
    wines and personalized labels, along with offering supplies for the home
    wine and beer maker. I was a vendor at this years ‘California Music Fest’
    and must say: It was absolutely the worst managed and organized event I’ve
    ever conducted business with. Not only that, but I feel that I was
    severely mislead (if not down-right lied to) about ticket sales, public
    access to the event, and music line-up.

    Regarding ticket sales, how could they have sold 2500 tickets on-line
    (which is one of the many numbers I was told) when that option was never
    available on-line for most of the time? And there were never more that 50 – 100 people at the Mission Park event at any given time?

    And access to the event? When I was first considering buying a vendor
    space at the event, Lori, one of the Music Fest Reps, told me that all of
    the people who were going to the Ventura Street Fair would have access to
    our booths. This was a bald-face lie. We had no access to the public
    whatsoever.

    Music Line-Up? Who’s going to pay $40 for an event that has no
    headliners? They’d promised us many well-known bands when we’d first bought our booth space. By the end of day two, they’d simply stopped charging people, and even then people weren’t coming in because there was so much going on only 20 ft away on Main St.

    I’ve since received an email from Lori, apologizing profusely and telling
    me that she was also lied to about the aforementioned topics. I’m hoping
    that with that transcript, along with all the other saved emails I have of
    other promises that were never delivered on, I may have a chance at a
    refund, although I very much doubt it.

    I feel other business owners need to discover how poorly ran this
    organization is so that they don’t have to experience the displeasure of
    doing business with them.

    Although I do still commend the concept of the entire “California Music Festival”, I wholeheartedly disagree with the way in which it was organized and managed, and the misleading, evasive ways in which the organizers conducted themselves. The little that I was able to deal with Mark Rasmussen, he acted not as a promoter of the event, but as a subordinate, always trying to pass the buck… delay a decision… Not willing to deal with the situation professionally. Again, I commend the thought of the “California Music Fest”, but I certainly hope that anybody reading this will not do business with the promoters of this event.

    Allen Aue
    Owner ~ Squashed Grapes
    2475 E. Ventura Blvd.
    Camarillo, CA 93010
    805.384.9721
    allen@squashedgrapes.com

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