Festival Network, the national entertainment promoter that has held concerts in Ocean Park featuring the Boston Pops for the past two years, has yet to pay approximately $5,000 owed to the town for use of the park last summer, and questions have surfaced about whether the company will be holding a concert on the Vineyard next summer.
Festival Network struck a deal with the town last year in which they agreed to pay $1 for every ticket sold. The promoters reportedly sold between 4,500 and 5,500 tickets, and the company was expected to make a payment to the town immediately after the concert.
“They still owe the town the money . . . I think it’s about $4,800.” said Oak Bluffs highway superintendent and parks commissioner Richard Combra Jr. “We haven’t gotten a lot of information from [Festival Network] since last year’s concert.”
A telephone message left with Rick White, a promoter for Festival Network in charge of the Vineyard concert, was not returned this week,
Some media reports indicate that Festival Network may be experiencing financial problems.
A Jan. 11 article in TicketNews said the company has laid off an undisclosed number of employees and may shut down several of its signature festivals, due in part to difficulty in raising new capital.
The article said in part: “Start-up costs for some festivals are quite costly. In addition, the company also did not advertise the acts until only about six to eight weeks before the shows, which is considered very late.”
Such was the case with the Ocean Park concert last year; organizers did not announce the final lineup of performers for the August 10 concert until the first week of July.
Festival Network agreed to allow three Island charities — the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard, Vineyard House and the Friends of Oak Bluffs — to participate in a ticket sale scheme for fund-raising purposes.
The company allowed each of the three nonprofits to buy several hundred tickets at face value and then sell them at a higher price and keep the difference.
Christine Todd, fund-raising director for the YMCA, said plans for this year are still up in the air. “We don’t know what the status is with Festival Network. We’re not sure about this year’s concert . . . last year we knew what was going on by the end of January,” she said.
John Early, a board member for Vineyard House, said he was also waiting for information.
“We had a meeting scheduled, but they canceled it. We’re just waiting to hear from them,” he said.