On September 4, San Diego non-profit Empowering Spirits Foundation staged a downtown LA event billed as the Free To Be Festival. However, because a great many Angelenos exercised their freedom to be elsewhere that day, vendors and performers are now reportedly scrambling for payment.
According to a thorough investigation by San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, instead of a final attendance forecast of 7,200, less than 100 people showed up! The absence of a crowd followed initial plans to hold the event in San Diego and a last-minute LA shuffle:
ESF switched the date to Sunday Sept. 4 to accommodate the FYF Fest, a larger music festival that wanted the [Los Angeles Historic State Park] location on Sept. 3, as it had done so for the previous five years. Goldenvoice, a subsidiary of AEG Live, produced the FYF Fest.
This is where some of the controversy for the Sept. 4 event lies, because [ESF founder and CEO] Latham Staples insists that Goldenvoice agreed to pick up the production costs of the event in exchange for using the park on Sept. 3.
An independent events producer tells SDGLN that he clearly informed Staples in August that despite the Goldenvoice piggypack, ESF would still be looking at $100,000+ in event staging costs. In the wake of nearly two dozen stopped ESF checks, Sophie B. Hawkins has filed a claim to get her performance money.
Previously on FishbowlLA:
Music Journalist Thanks the VIP Gods