Orlando Music Festival ticket holders wait for refunds after event cancelation

‘I’ve already prepaid for a hotel, got my car, taken time off work,’ fan says

Weeks before the event, Executive Producer James Walker Watson was arrested on federal fraud charges, and the festival was canceled.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Hundreds of people across the country are still waiting for ticket refunds after the Orlando Music Festival was canceled.

“I’m pissed off. Period,” said Fred Winters, of Tampa. “I’m disappointed.”

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Winters and his friends purchased tickets to the festival, which was supposed to take place at the Central Florida Fairgrounds over the Fourth of July weekend.

They bought two Platinum seating packages at a total of $1,400.

They said they also spent about $1,500 more on a nonrefundable vacation rental in Orlando.

Weeks before the event, Executive Producer James Walker Watson was arrested on federal fraud charges, and the festival was canceled.

“I didn’t know what to think because there was no reason given,” Charlotte Bruce said. “It just said unforeseen circumstances.”

“This is one of those things that you pick and choose during this time -- what you can invest in and what you can spend your money on, because things are a little tight here and there. This was one of the things we wanted to do,” Reginald Bruce said.

“There were all my bucket list people that were coming in,” ticket holder Alondra Churcher said. “As soon as I saw it on social media, I was like, ‘I have to go.’ I immediately booked the tickets.”

Churcher lives in Mesa, Arizona, and she spent more than $1,000 on her Diamond seating package.

She also paid for airline tickets, a hotel and rental car.

“OK, I’ve already prepaid for a hotel, got my car, taken time off work – just all these things,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, what are we going to do now?’”

The notice Churcher and other ticket holders received indicated “refunds for tickets will be issued shortly.”

Six weeks later, they were still waiting.

“If we get (our money) back, it would be a pleasant surprise,” Winters said.

Tix, the platform the festival used for ticket purchases, told News 6 they have “no access to these funds, and therefore, no way to issue refunds to ticket buyers.”

A spokesperson said the Orlando Music Festival has the proceeds.

News 6 visited the address listed on the festival’s business license, where a receptionist said no one from the festival physically works there. They only receive mail there.

News 6 left messages with other festival leaders to ask when refunds would be issued.

News 6 also contacted the artists that were scheduled to perform.

Spyro Gyra responded, saying:

“Like many of the other artists and potential attendees for the Orlando Music Festival, Spyro Gyra is disappointed at the turn of events that led to the cancellation of the festival. We were caught as off guard as everyone else was by the cancellation. We have no knowledge of the organizers plans to refund tickets. We didn’t even know that this had not happened until we received your email. We have no further knowledge of the intentions of the organizers, and we regret this imposition on our fans.”

“We just want our money back,” Bruce said. “In a nutshell, do the right thing.”

After the interview, Winters got results from his credit card company.

He said he contacted them to report what was happening, and they credited his account, while they opened their own investigation into the Orlando Music Festival’s cancellation.


About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.