As anger builds over cancelled festival,
organizer claims he was
"taken advantage of" by mysterious "people and companies."
Negative comments and a post by Southern Free Press
deleted from Facebook page for Heroes Music Fest.
Editor's Note: Be sure to read the comments from readers at the end of this report.
The information they contain is unconfirmed but, if true, provides fascinating insight into a story that isn't nearly over.
By CB Hackworth
Musical talent poured into Hampton, just south of Atlanta, by the busload -- over three dozen top acts in all -- ready to rock and roll.
But like trees falling in a forest when no one is there to hear a sound, most of the performers never got to perform.
Everthing seemed fine early Thursday, as singer Gwen Sebastian typed a couple of lines to her fans via Twitter: But all was not fine.
It was a disaster.
Promoted for months as a "must see" event, and built around the 9-11 weekend as a celebration of "rock and remembrance," the Heroes Music Festival got underway on Thursday, but then -- suddenly and unexpectedly -- collapsed like the Twin Towers.
There wasn't much rock, but there will be plenty of remembrance.
With his wife Sara, Charles DeJournett had planned HMF for the last two years -- apparently while he was serving in the Air Force overseas.
Now, this young couple from Bonaire are stuck holding the bag, perhaps both legally and financially, and they find themselves accused by some not simply of mismanagement and misdirection, but of a crass attempt to cash in on the worst terrorist attack in American history.
|Charles & Sara DeJournette|
The official Facebook page for HMF proclaims:
"September 11, 2001, will forever be a tragic day that changed the course of history in the United States of America. As time passes, children will be born who will not have memories of the day that four planes were hijacked and used as weapons to attack the United States on its own soil. The 2,976 lives lost on that day and the sacrifices made by the men and women serving in our military are far too valuable to be forgotten."
|One wonders if the Army, Marine Corps, Navy & Air Force,|
not to mention generic police and fire departments everywhere,
consented to the use of their emblems to promote Heroes Music Festival,
and, if so, whether they can be sued, too?
Back in April, he wrote: "This event has already surpassed our every expectation for a first year event."
But on opening day, it soon became obvious the "crowd" was painfully smaller than anticipated.
Sometime in the middle of the night, DeJournette's primary financial backer, Neal Boatright, apparently decided to take his money and run.
There's no way to know how many people were planing to attend the festival's other three days, or the amount of their trouble and expense.
Writing on Facebook, DeJournette said the organizers are heartbroken, too: "We feel the same way and are completely devistated by the news."
Not everyone has accepted the cancellation graciously.
Others, however, vigorously are defending DeJournette as an honorable man with the best of intentions.
Although damage control has been in full swing, anything resembling an apology has been hard to find.
Instead, the closest thing to an official cancellation was this rambling press release in which DeJournette first reminds the public of his military service, then portrays himself as a victim of Neal Boatright and just as much of a disappointed fan as anyone else.
Statement:Almost as if oblivious to the chaos, and potential liability, this failed venture has created, DeJournette continued to cheerfully say "thanks" as Friday night came to a close.
Closing of Heroes Music Festival
September 9-11, 2011 • Atlanta Motor Speedway
Charles DeJournett, Heroes Music Festival founder
(DeJournett is a 10-year Air Force Veteran who has deployed several times.)
The Heroes Music Festival has been a personal passion for me and my entire family. We've worked over the past two years to put this event together in honor and celebration of our service men and women. We are pleased in the outpour of artists who were not only willing to share their talents, but understand the importance of the message and significance of Heroes Music Fest overall. In a contract agreement, we aligned with an investor who demonstrated what we thought was the same passion and commitment, and we are just as surprised and devastated as the artists, vendors, and all involved, that our investor elected to walk away from the project early this morning.
Our primary concern and main priority at this time is to notify all parties of the cancellation due to this circumstance (including artists and those music fans who may be traveling from afar). We will address ticket refunds and vendor relations immediately thereafter.
We wish to personally thank all of the artists, their managers, the vendors, and our friends for joining us in this endeavor to fill September 11 with celebration and love--to give back to the folks who give of themselves each and every day.
It is my honor to have served with these selfless men and women and it was our hope to share our gratitude with them through song.
Then, as anger continued to build on Saturday, DeJournette suddenly proclaimed Boatright blameless in the debacle.
Rather, he alluded to mysterious, unnamed "people and companies" which allegedly have "taken advantage of" the DeJournettes.
Comments on the Facebook page are overwhelmingly supportive of DeJournett.
There may be a reason for that, however:
A number of complaints have been deleted. Here's one:
Taylor Hill Ashley "It's sad that everyone does not know the real story... Mr.Boatright put up the money & stood to loose not Charles. This is not about the military. Charles is exploiting the military for financial gain. The Truth will come out soon. If Mr. Boatright wouldn't have been misled by Charles they would not be in that situation today, Karma. Trust me they are monitoring this site & only keeping the good comments & deleting the ones they do not want people to see ... which is the truth!"Sure enough, that entry vanished from the Facebook page -- but only after Southern Free Press had transcribed it.
Likewise, a post by Southern Free Press directing readers to this article also has been taken down.
CB Hackworth, Inc.