$130-a-Ticket ‘Gathering Festival’ Turned Out to Be a Giant Scam

$130-a-Ticket 'Gathering Festival' Turned Out to Be a Giant Scam
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Looks like ‘The Gathering’ scammed artists and fans with a sham music festival.  The organizers have been accused of skipping town.

2017 hasn’t been a great year for music festivals.

First, fans that attended Ja Rule’s $12,000-a-ticket music festival quickly found half-built tents, piles of garbage, and feral dogs.

One month later, the Pemberton Music Festival in Canada abruptly declared bankruptcy.  Fans who had purchased their tickets in advance found that they wouldn’t receive refunds automatically.

Now, a festival organizer and his wife have been flat-out accused of scamming artists with a sham music festival in South Carolina.

Lighting that will melt your face and visuals that will blow your mind!

Relatively unknown company EDM United Events had organized the music festival in Charleston.  In a flyer circulated on Facebook and Twitter, organizers had promised fans “impressive sound and lighting.”  Twenty “amazing” DJs and producers would perform across “four themed stages of sound.”

The company had also promised music fans “50,000 watts of sound, amazing lighting that will melt your face, visuals that will blow your mind, an Oxygen BAR, Food vendors and a Beer Cave.”

Leah Culver and Ralph Louie were among those who would headline the October 7th event.

Fvckdivmonds, an EDM DJ, had also promoted the event on Twitter.

There was just one problem: the entire festival was a scam.

You pay $130 for a wooden stage and a few speakers.

EDM Confessions, a popular Facebook page, posted an image showing how the event unfolded.

Only four to five people had set-up a poor-quality stage and eleven speakers.  Confirming that The Gathering festival had taken place, ATLiens, another event headliner, wrote,

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

Tickets cost around $130 each.

Other scheduled performers quickly took to Facebook to decry the event.  Matthew Bartlett (DJ B-Nasty) and Carlos Alvarez explained what had happened.

Andrew Murdock, owner of EDM United Events, has become a focal point of inquiry.  Murdock has been accused of telling artists and producers that he had done business for “17 plus years.”  With multiple promises, he also reportedly lined up investors to back the show.

Once The Gathering festival rolled around, Murdock, along with his wife, were accused of skipping town.  Alvarez thanked those who managed to provide payments to artists.

Another DJ, Josh Ware, who helped set-up the stage, wrote,

I didn’t get paid for DJing or setting up.  Me and like four or five dudes are the only reason anyone had a stage to even play on.  I’m giving him until Friday to pay me.  I don’t want my money from anyone else but Andrew or His Wife.

It remains unclear how many artists actually received payments.

EDM United Events’ Facebook page was completely deleted.

The company’s Twitter page is still up.  However, it has remained noticeably quiet after the event.

A Facebook page with the name ‘Andrew Murdock’ remains active with a profile photo updated one hour ago.  As with the Twitter account, the page had promoted The Gathering.  The owner had also promoted ATLiens and other festival headliners on his Facebook page.  It’s unknown whether the page belongs to the owner who set-up the failed music festival.

More as this develops.


Image by EDM Confessions (Shared on Facebook)

2 Responses

  1. Jim

    Digital Music News covers these sht fests, and often gives advice to musicians.

    Maybe Digital Music News should write an article about the best way to cancel a music festival.

    It’s pretty easy to criticize Andrew Murdock, who I haven’t heard of until now. But I don’t know if “scam” is the right word.

    In any area, you’re likely to find a mixture of low, medium and high competency people, with small, medium and large wallets.

    Knowing nothing about this, I’d just guess that Murdock is low competency with a small wallet. I have no idea about EDM, I’ve heard of some top names. Are these the kind of names that you’d see on a one day EDM fest? My guess would be no.

    My guess as to what happened (and this type of thing happens pretty often) is that this festival is charging much more than the acts were worth, and almost bought tickets. I’d guess that Murdock was planning on the proceeds from the early ticket sales to fund things like stages, lights and sound. But when no one bought tickets, Murdock did not have the money to pay someone to set up lights, sound and stage.

    This was probably the type of situation where Murdock knew this was going to be a total failure, and just didn’t know what to do.

    If there was an article on Digital Music News “The best way to cancel a music fest that looks like it’s going to be a huge financial mess”, in the future, people might find it easier to extricate themselves from the mess.

    It really would be useful. It could be useful for someone who sees a real colossal failure to post your article on a venue facebook.

    A lot of these shady festivals are just ones done by people who have low competence, low knowledge and small wallets. You see a lot husband / wife teams doing these things, and I assume there’s some sort of dynamic there that prevents reality from intruding on their assessment of things. You can go to any rural area or maybe even any size area short of one of the few cities, less than 100 in the US, where they really know what they’re doing, and you’ll find someone who books the rural / small town / not major city venue there, does a functional job, and you’ll find that sometimes they do festivals. There are a ton of festivals all over the place, and they vary widely in their quality. This was a very low quality one. But there are plenty of festivals, and a lot of them work something like this, but with higher competence, more knowledge, fatter wallet (or lower expectations).

    I tried to help out a shtfest like this one, one that was very arguably worse than this one, I don’t think you covered it, and it shouldn’t be covered now, ended up being postponed and then cancelled. And I communicated with the guy and know how he thought, and in his case, he just had no idea what he was doing, and his helper (who I think was dating) was the booker for a rural venue that specialized in cover bands. So, I guess the thinking was very close to – if there’s 1 cover band playing for $5, Then 100 local cover bands over 3 days should cost $250.

    A rational person – me – spent a lot of time – months before the fest – trying to explain that no way no how will anybody spend $250 on 100 local bands, and that the show should be cancelled immediately – or 80% of the acts dropped and the price cut down to about $25. I was assured that everything was fine and that money was not a problem. So I told them that their venue was amazing (and it was, and is, a huge field that horses typically run on, huge, could hold a million people – a mile of uninterrupted lawn, such a great property) but the lineup was basically worthless, and if there was a huge pile of money really there, then I could get some bands that have played festivals before, not just locals, cancel most of the worthless locals that he was paying guarantees to, and it could be salvaged. And those quality acts were booked, but the locals weren’t cancelled. Again, postponed to to a mystery rain, and cancelled.

    Actually a much more interesting story than this one. This one just seemed like shoddy, half-assed shtshow, based, almost certainly, on no money to buy good lights, sound, stage.

    A question to ask acts, instead of everyone pretending that all these acts are always blindsided by reality, is why weren’t you aware that this was shaping up to be a shtfest? If you’re an act who is playing a $130 festival, wouldn’t you expect that there might be some perceptible buzz about this event? If there is no buzz about the event, wouldn’t you think that there might be a problem? Digital Music News is providing a good service by notifying people that there are shtfests run by people who don’t know what they’re doing, and sometime they’re failures, like this one. I don’t like the idea that these people should be labeled as criminals, with the use of the word “scam”, it’s more likely that these are delusional people. These are people, generally, who want the whole thing to go away, and just don’t know what to do. They aren’t stealing money, there is money to steal. Acts should be able to figure out when something like that might be happening. All those local bands on a bill, 100 of them, none of them said “people are not going to spend $250 on 100 local bands, especially not these bands, and I love the fact that you’re giving my band this much money, and all the other 100 bands the same amount of money, but there’s no way you can make money, in fact, you’re certain to lose tens of thousands of dollars on guarantees, and stage lights and sound on top of that. And you should’ve worked out something to sell beer.” Nope, they all just got mad when it collapsed. So, this is something for bands to look out for.

    • Anon

      The event was free with a promo code. Only 30$ to camp. 130$ is an inaccuracy that is spreading. The owner lied to everyone about “Investments already lined up” and diverted any payments on bookings, sound guys, stage builders, and other people who now have lost all their money invested. The owner didn’t lose a dime because he used other peoples money.

      Once the artists, sound guys, stage guys got to the venue, with 4 hours till open, it was evident that there were no stages built at all. The owner should have cancelled weeks ago but never told anyone the truth. Everyone built 4 stages out of pallets within 4 hours so there would at least be something. And indeed a show did happen and many attendees reported a great time. Anyone reporting a bad time were the people who didn’t get paid for their services. The people out on their money the most are the ones who invested in the lies of the owner, unknowingly.

      It was witnessed that the owner was seen doing drugs and drinking alcohol while the event proceeded, not helping out in any way. Some artists bought packs of water to give out for free but the owner took those and tried to sell them for 5$.

      Now you tell me if this is the type of person that is incompetent with low funds or is this someone trying to scam?