Controversy Erupts over Roxodus Cancellation — an Event That Nearly Became Canada's Fyre Festival
Warring organizers now claim the cancellation had nothing to do with poor weather, as news of a police investigation emerges
Published Jul 09, 2019The Roxodus music festival was set to kick off this week, bringing a star-studded lineup featuring the likes of Aerosmith, Kid Rock and Nickelback to the Edenvale Airport in Clearview Township, ON. But the ambitious festival was abruptly cancelled early this month, with organizers at the time blaming it all on wet weather. There appears to be much more to the story, though, as warring Roxodus organizers now go public about what really went wrong. What's more, police have reportedly launched an investigation surrounding the festival.
As previously reported, the parent company behind the festival, Roxodus, MF Live Inc., cited overly wet conditions due to heavy spring rains at the venue as the initial reason for the cancellation on Wednesday (July 3). By Sunday (July 7), however, company head Fab Loranger changed his story, now blaming former partner Mike Dunphy and what he calls a loss of "millions."
"Our specific role in the entire project was to provide the funding," Loranger told Global News. "We invested millions of dollars. We relied on Mr. Dunphy, his representations, and his advice to ensure everything was properly taken care of. It obviously wasn't. We lost it all."
While Dunphy also does not blame poor weather for the festival's cancellation either, he said the allegations against him are "ridiculous" and that he in no way stole any money. As Dunphy told Global, the real reason for the Roxodus cancellation is simple: "Crappy ticket sales."
Dunphy claimed both he and Loranger knew the festival was on shaky financial ground as early as May, explaining at that point only about 20,000 tickets were sold. That said, financial documents provided to Global by Dunphy appear to show a discrepancy between ticket sales and profit.
"We had budgeted for 25,000 per day and we didn't achieve that," Dunphy explained. "We knew it was going to be a loss in year one."
But how big of a loss were they looking at? According to Dunphy, $12 million.
Duphy said he left Roxodus, MF Live Inc. on June 21 before the festival announced it was being cancelled. He claimed he could no longer "draw a salary" and knew by then that Roxodus was never going to happen.
Adding another layer to this all, Ontario Provincial Police confirmed to Global News that it was investigating a former employee of Roxodus, MF Live Inc. However, police would not reveal the identity of the person under investigation.
"The monies were not in my control," Dunphy told Global News.
With both Loranger and Dunphy providing no word about refunds for those who bought tickets to Roxodus, ticket seller Eventbrite agreed to set a program to get festivalgoers their money back.
In a statement, Eventbrite said, "We believe attendees deserve to get their money back now, so we have set up an Eventbrite-funded Fan Relief Program to make all Roxodus ticket holders whole while we continue to aggressively pursue the return of funds from the festival's creators.
"We are transferring funds to ticket holders immediately and they can expect to see it reflected on their credit card or bank statement within seven business days."
While no further details have been revealed about the ongoing police investigation, Global News reports several Roxodus ticket holders are looking into filing a class-action lawsuit against the festival.
You can watch a report about Global's investigation below.
Roxodus was scheduled to take place July 11 to 14. In addition to Aerosmith, Kid Rock and Nickelback, the lineup boasted the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Collective Soul, Peter Frampton, Billy Idol, Blondie, Big Wreck, Headstones, I Mother Earth, Matthew Good and Theory of a Deadman.