Evermore Music Festival organizer tells vendors and bands his company is insolvent and doesn’t have enough money to fully pay them for their work on the inaugural event, which was well below budget attendance.
Evermore was a three-day concert that took place from September 30 to October 30. 2 from downtown on the lawn of the American Legion Mall. It featured headliners Guster, Atlas Genius and Prismo and over 30 local and regional artists.
The show was produced by Indianapolis-based Rift LLC. Rift’s CEO is Nick White, a former executive producer of WTTV-TV Channel 4 and WXIN-TV Channel 59. His business partner is Zach Morris. Organizers planned to make the festival an annual event.
According to an email obtained by IBJ and dated Friday, White told a company that was staging the festival that his company was able to pay less than a third of an $18,500 debt.
The email said the company was “at risk of bankruptcy or closure”.
“We are able to offer you exactly 31.2% of the remaining balance, or $5,772, as settlement,” the email reads. “This offer is truly the best we can offer right now based on our outstanding debt to our cash flow as a business. We are offering this percentage on all debt, including unsecured debt. If you don’t are unhappy with the settlement, we can offer you a 10% payment now with tentative monthly payments for as long as our business can bear it.”
Nik Roberts, one of the recipients of the email, said he and his business partner, Chris White, provided the staging, lighting and sound for two of the festival’s three stages. He said they agreed Evermore could pay them $7,000 up front, with the remaining $18,500 payable after the event.
“We took $7,000 off a $25,500 contract. We shouldn’t have done that,” Roberts said.
When Nick White started making plans for the festival earlier this year it planned to attract around 20,000 music lovers. But according to stories from The Indianapolis Star and WTTV-TV Channel 4, the festival drew no more than 1,000 people over its three days.
White told WTTV he owed money to “the majority” of bands who played at Evermore and was also making the same 31% settlement offer to them. He said he needed around $25,000 to pay off the festival’s debts, WTTV reported.
In the email, White said rainy weather during the first two days of the festival was the main cause of “extremely low attendance”.
“Our company was ready to suffer a loss for this first year, but this deficit is greater than expected. … Unfortunately, with the lack of attendance and missing revenue, our company is currently insolvent,” the email read.
Festival tickets are $24 for the first day of the festival. This price has increased to $35 for Saturday and Sunday lineups.
In August, White told IBJ that the festival would need to sell 6,000 tickets priced at $24 to break even. But White later told local media the break-even point would be 2,500.
Roberts said that based on his observations, attendance at the three-day festival was only around 500 people. The festival had “a lot of potential” but was poorly promoted, Roberts said.
Roberts said Nick White called him last week to say the festival didn’t have enough money to pay in full, but he was hoping to find an investor or get a loan to cover the difference.
Then, Roberts said, on Friday he received the email with the settlement offer. Now, Roberts said, he’s in a bind and can’t pay the people he hired to help with the gig.
“Yes [Evermore] felt like they couldn’t pay us, they shouldn’t have hired us,” Roberts said.