NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Customers said they had to fight to get their money back after a music festival was unexpectedly cancelled in 2019.
The Ones for Justice helped nine customers secure refunds, in addition to prompting the venue to cancel future events with the concert organizer.
Music Fest 2018 brought historic acts to a legendary Texas venue.
The event featured big names like the Temptations and the Whispers at Southfork Ranch, which fans will recognize as the location for the hit TV show, “Dallas.”
So when Music Fest 2019 as was announced, Floristene Johnson bought tickets for all her friends to the tune of $911.
“It was a lot of old school artists like the Chi-Lites and Blue Magic,” said Floristene Johnson.
But last July, Music Event Productions canceled the festival due to “low ticket sales,” according to emails received by customers.
In the email, James W. Watson, Jr., the head of Music Event Productions, promised refunds.
“The next week, I sent another email back to that same address and no response,” Johnson said. “No response, no response, no response.”
Veronica Taylor also found herself waiting on money from Watson, Jr. She said she and her father were planning to attend Music Fest 2019.
“That date came, no refund,” Taylor said. “It was some blues singers me and my dad liked to see.”
To make matters worse, these customers were still waiting on refunds when plans for Music Fest 2020 were announced online.
A representative from Southfork Ranch confirmed to the Ones for Justice that the venue had entered into a contract with Music Event Productions for an event in 2020. Promotional material could also be found online.
“It’s like, ‘I took your money,’ and here they’re doing another event? I want people to know so people don’t fall for it,” Taylor said.
As the Ones for Justice discovered, James Watson, Jr., has a history of being associated with flawed festivals.
Watson, Jr., served prison time in 2011 for conspiracy to commit bank fraud after federal prosecutors stated he duped investors of a concert he had organized in Houston in 2008, according to a news release issued by the FBI.
The FBI stated at the time, Watson, Jr., was on probation following his role in another former festival in Sacramento.
Watson, Jr., openly admits to his past, even referring to himself as a “convicted felon” on his website.
“I was taught the difference between right and wrong. I had not lived my life by the lessons I was taught by my parents and mentors, nor had I lived by my spiritual training and beliefs,” Watson, Jr., wrote.
In a letter to the Ones for Justice, a “para-legal” [sic] for Watson, Jr., explained that certain refunds were not made due to a miscommunication.
“While Music Event Productions had certain records of persons who purchased tickets, there was another agency/vendor (Eventbrite) who also sold tickets to the 2019 Music Fest at Southfork event and their information was not readily available to Music Event Productions,” wrote James E. Brown, a “para-legal” for Music Event Productions. “Owing to this situation, and the unfortunate miscommunication that ensued, certain refunds were not made; however, as soon as this information became available to MEP measures were taken to address this matter and appropriate refunds were issued.”
But music fans said even though they received their money, they still want to warn others.
“I just want people to know so they’re not out of money,” Taylor said.
Within days of The Ones for Justice contacting Watson, Jr., the music promoter refunded both Johnson and Taylor.
A representative of Southfork Ranch told the Ones for Justice the venue has decided to cancel Music Fest 2020 altogether, in addition to any future events hosted by MEP.
Watson, Jr., declined an on-camera interview. In an email, the company acknowledged that no tickets were sold for the 2020 event and no event is being currently organized.