A Shakedown Meltdown 2010
FESTIVAL PROMOTERS BE FORWARNED
WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT PROMOTE CONCERTS OR MUSIC FESTIVALS WITH LOWELL MACGREGOR, LMG LLC OR ERIC MAYERS OF VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON
27, 28 2005
|WWW.CONCERT-PROMOTIONS.COM||SHAKEDOWN TIMELINE||ERIC MAYERS||LOWELL MACGREGOR|
After telling us they “saved our festival” when we need an immediate replacement for Hornings Hideout (which told us in May, 2005 Washington County demanded they cancel all of the remaining 2005 festivals), we moved our event to Columbia Meadows, north of Portland, Oregon, a property MacGregor was leasing. Then on the day we were to open the gates, after months of incompetence and a lack of professional cooperation, MacGregor cancelled our event after we paid all of our bills to that point including $35,000. in rent. MacGregor killed our festival, destroying our new company, and has been lying about it ever since. Mayers also lied to us about his ability to secure sponsors in a town of 100 microbrews. He secured none. We had to provide vendor paperwork just to secure vendors. This web site offers the truth about events leading up to August 25, 2005, the fateful advance setup and camping day. With operators like this, there is no wonder Oregon’s economy is in shambles. The Governor only stated to me, “get a lawyer”. Lowell MacGregor continues to lie about the facts and his hateful, premature closure of our 3 day music festival. He is in total denial of his criminal behavior and continues to slander my name. I was the only one that had a full understanding at the time, of the ramifications of this idiot’s behavior.
Years later, Lowell MacGregor contacted Dan Router, a Christian Music Talent Agent providing acts for a new company I was involved with, and said he had a bad experience with an event in the Pacific Northwest. He said it was a disaster, and that Hal didn’t show up the day of the show, and he had to stand in on the day of the event an make sure everything went OK. What insanity! About that time MacGregor linked up with another total incompetent and thief, Erik Baker from Florida now based in Nashville. I sued this evil liar too, see www.uniteconcerts.com All of these people are the worst in the industry and have no ethics. I used my best skills to make great events happen and all these people could is destroy. This is my reality of what the festival business is really about. Hate, stupidity, incompetence and dishonesty. The Lord will deal with them accordingly, no question in my mind.
The fact is that I, Hal Abramson, President of Stylus Shows, Inc. ……
THE TRUTH: THE SHAKEDOWN CAMPOUT AND MUSIC FESTIVAL
As time goes on, more and more facts will be revealed here.
On the morning of
Thousands of people from 37 states and 3 Canadian Provinces had bought tickets for the festival and were en route when it was cancelled. Thousands more would have bought tickets over the next 4 days.
I, Hal Abramson, was president of Stylus Shows, Inc.. Lowell MacGregor had insanely told everyone I cancelled the festival! Then his story was that he shut down the event because we wouldn’t be able to pay the bands (which as the venue manager was none of his business and we had already paid all bands at least half their fees far in advance). Now he tells people I didn’t show up the day of the festival. A liar can’t lie enough to cover his tracks.
He then displayed a lit sign at
the entrance that said FOR REFUNDS CONTACT HAL and listed my mobile and home
phone numbers. He then told the media, Willamette newspaper and Pollstar that I
did not show up the day of the show, all blatant lies to protect the fact that
he had our $35,000 for rent and for sponsors and we received no rental or
sponsors. I was told by the ticketing manager "I guess he needed the $35,000
Tickets were refunded. $250,000 was spent on a festival that never happened.
paper stated I disappeared for 4 days. WRONG, I was there, and once the
festival was cancelled in the morning, MacGregor told
contractors to come after us. We were boxed in by their vehicles on a parking
lot and our lives were being threatened. I was then able to get the entire crew to a downtown hotel,
but was unable to use my phone because MacGregor was
advertising the number for the public to call. We used the hotel phone to call
the agents explain that the bands should not come, that Lowell MacGregor had cancelled the festival, not us. We lost all
deposits placed on the bands, about $100,000.00.
The problems didn’t start the day of the festival, they ended there. MacGregor was totally uncooperative in accommodating our needs from the absolute beginning.
MacGregor was constantly changing the terms of the festival and making additional financial demands that were not in the original contract all the way up to the morning when he cancelled the event.
The damages from Lowell MacGregor"s premature closing of the event continue today.
If you are one of the few vendors they contracted for us, contact them for your money back. Though requested, they never gave us your contracts. I authorize you to seek your money back. In 2008, I have personally started paying these vendors back out of my own pocket, more damages.
THE TRUE STORY
The week of the show our attorney Peter Vaughn Shaver said, “the Shakedown is happening right now.”
N retrospect, I was mistaken to call the show that. my dream came true, wrapped in a horror story. I was very mistaken is trusting Eric Mayer and Lowell MacGregor.
Me, my friends, the vendors, contractors, hundreds of workers and volunteers and all of the people who bought a ticket or walked, rode or flew to buy a ticket at the gate, we all got screwed! This tragedy will effect every new jamband event for time to come.
I would never cancel any event let alone an event I worked on for 6 months as President, and dreamed of for almost 30 years? Hal Abramson
Hal Abramson, Stylus Shows, Inc. nor the “promoter” canceled the festival. We were ready and excited about the crowd that would appear over the 3 ˝ days. We got shut out!
Lowell MacGregor is a cold, uncaring pathological liar who apparently couldn’t give a shit about any of us but his wallet. The Lord will judge him and deal with him.
Just prior to 1pm PT on Thurs. Aug. 25, Lowell MacGregor (Lowell MacGregor Group (LMG)- the people we rented the property from), approved of his attorney calling ours and stating that the show was officially canceled after canceling earlier that morning and then being on hold . He shut down our music festival 3 hours before it was scheduled to start at when early entry was to begin.
Absolute insanity!!! We were just about to pay the balance of the entire show !!! Ask someone that was close in what really happened.
I had been complaining about Lowell’s threats and manipulation of the contract for weeks. He and his company were incompetent since the beginning of our relationship.
It was hot and summery. The best jamband lineup in the region’s history had been contracted. Plenty of fun-seeking people from more than 37 states and 3 provinces in Canada ready to gather, all had their heart set on a great event. After 4 months of promotion, the festival had arrived.
Lowell MacGregor’s action was the dumbest thing I ever have seen, heard or imagined in my knowledge of music festival history.
We were waiting for months for the gate money to pay back our investors and costs. We lost everything as soon as the festival was canceled. We were all sick with grief.
Lowell MacGregor knew that ticket buyers, vendors and contractors would all come to us for refunds. He forced the refunds. He destroyed our event, then tried to make me the scapegoat by putting my phone numbers on an electric sign telling people to call me for refunds. He knew exactly what he was doing. Did you all know that if an event cancels, the promoter is still responsible for paying the balances on all contracts including the band’s cost? Lowell knew that. Pretty dirty maneuver.
Instead of working with us on building a great production by working together over 8 weeks, Lowell McGregor became increasingly compulsive about covering his expenses to the point of making demands we could not meet, way after the original agreement was accepted. He demanded terms be changed frequently.
I felt pressured to sign Lowell’s addendum agreements and give in to his verbal demands because of his constant threat of canceling the show if we didn’t sign.
Though verbally agreed to rent us “Columbia Meadows” about June 8, Lowell turned to Eric in a meeting I attended in their offices in Vancouver, WA, just 13 days before the show on about August 12, and said “well, now that we know we have a festival”. Apparently, none of them recognized this as a real event before that. I feel that was evident in the lackluster and total lack of effort on many aspects.
As he also withdrew an earlier offer to consider paying for half the shade systems we needed to install to protect the customers, even though this was a deficit of his own venue, little shade. It’s basically a big open field.
If he cares at all about music, community and doing the right thing, he sure has a peculiar and damaging way of showing it.
I would not believe a word anybody there says. In my opinion, they are in deep legal shit and will do anything to make me look like the bad guy. I did nothing wrong but agree to use Columbia Meadows!
I did NOTHING wrong and lost EVERYTHING as a result of the MacGregor's incompetence and lies. Be clear about the fact that Lowell MacGregor is a blatant liar.
Why did he cancel the festival?
Lowell MacGregor could not be satisfied and was making increasingly unrealistic and uncooperative financial demands on us. He treated us like he hated us and we had already paid his company $35,000. We were about to pay him another agreed to $25,000 that Thursday Aug. 25.
He required me to assign the TicketsWest $40,000 to him. That $97,500. was not enough. Though the agreement called for a venue rental of $110,000, he wanted it all in advance and then wanted additional expenses guaranteed paid up front when we had no chance to check any of these costs. These additional costs were not estimated until the day of the event , could not be verified as requested by us, and he wanted to be paid all of it in advance no matter how much he stated it was.. We all knew by now he was out of his mind. WEWEREN’GOING TO HAVE $40,000 OF SALES HELD TWICE, WHICH IS THE SITUATION LOWELL MACGREGOR WAS PLACING US IN.
He forced us to sign over ALL gate receipts until he was satisfied he had been paid enough without any discussion of exactly at what point would we receive our own money. Under threat of closure, we had no choice but to agree to this too.
And although originally agreed to pay talent balances out of gate money, at the end he wanted liquid assurances we had payment for bands besides income from the festival. It’s none of his business how we pay the bands.
This was not enough. He then demanded we cash out the TicketsWest funds being held or he would cancel. TicketsWest would sell tickets through Sunday but Lowell threatened us again with closure unless I agreed to pay him in cash for these tickets he could redeem on Sunday. At that time, this would have been $38,000. At this point I felt that he was a mad man and I told my attorney that I thought he was very dangerous.
I felt that if we kept signing whatever he put in front of me we would finally get to the show. We got to 3 hours before and the bastard pulled the plug because he states we violated our agreement by not cashing out the TicketsWest sales he was holding, by 10 am Thursday August 25.
Dividing the average value of a 3 day customer, Lowell MacGregor would have been been able to cash out that TicketsWest money on the first 281 gate buying customers. He was a short time away from having everything he stated he wanted. So why would he cancel? Maybe he didn’t want the festival to happen in fear of there not being enough customers to pay the rest of the bills. His non-belief in our lineup and marketing killed our event.
All MacGregor really needed to care about was whether we lived up to the terms of our agreement. He failed to rent us the place we contracted. MacGregor closing the festival set us up to instantly violate many other agreements.
Now that the festival was canceled by him (LMG), and is in MATERIAL BREACH OF THE CONTRACT, we feel they are now responsible for all debts and damages. After all, we signed an agreement to rent the place, we paid him on time, he would not accept only our correct payment due anytime that day, and they canceled the festival before we even got halfway through the 25th !
There is nothing in any contract about getting funds to them by 10am that Thursday 8/25/05. The previous payments had all been sent by mail and got there all times of the day. Lowell yet again, now at the last minute, was reinventing terms for his own paranoid needs. All of a sudden they invented a deadline of 10am for us to deliver $25K + $38K or it was all over. We told them we were willing to do what had agreed before we started getting bamboozled into signing bogus amendments in the last few days “if you don’t sign we’re canceling”. We agreed to assign the advance
TicketsWest monies and the $25,000 plus gate funds up to $110,000, then working with us to divide funds reasonably so that both parties would be satisfied.
These are the actual statements
from our attorney at the time, Peter Vaughn Shaver, regarding the phone and
email exchanges that led up to the festival’s closing.
The day before the event was cancelled (8/24/05), I spoke with Lowell and he verbally agreed to waive immediate payment of the funds held in reserve by TicketsWest and that he would allow the event to proceed if we transferred $25,000 into his corporate account by 10 AM the next morning, as we were prepared to do. Sensing a breakthrough, I requested that he send me an e-mail with that in writing. He said he would have to talk to his attorney, Anthony Davis, first. I immediately sent out a confirmatory e-mail with this language and a request for his bank and account information. However, no e-mail confirmation ever was sent.
Instead, Davis responded at 10:00
AM the next day (8/25) with an e-mail stating that LMG would only perform if
you paid both the $25 K and $38K payments immediately, or place the funds in an
escrow account. Then he stated: "If Stylus does not perform as required,
that non-performance constitutes a material breach and LMG LLC will cancel the
Later that day, after much back and forth communication with Lowell and Anthony, Lowell sent me an e-mail requesting a statement that either we were or were not going to provide them with a payment of the additional $38,000 (an amount equal to the ticket sales revenue then held by TicketsWest in our account) above and beyond the pre-event amount of $25,000 that we were ready, willing and able to transfer to them from the Wachovia account. I confirmed with you that you could not pay the $38,000. Therefore, I replied to
At approximately 10:40 AM, I called Anthony and he verbally confirmed that unless the additional funds were provided the show would be cancelled. I again stated that that was not going to happen and I now assumed that their decision was that the event was cancelled. I asked him directly if this was the case and if their decision was definite and final and he said "yes." Based on his statement, I made a number of calls: first to you, then to Jason Mastrine.
However, soon afterward, Lowell called me and said that the event was NOT cancelled and he and Baseline were discussing "bridge" financing to keep the doors open. I went ballistic and told him that his own attorney had "definitely" confirmed their decision. I called all parties back, stating that I jumped the gun and there was still hope that an 11th hour agreement could be worked out. On short notice, Neil Glazer from Baseline called and told me that the event was indeed cancelled as he could not obtain permission from Baseline to forward additional funds to LMG. From then on, all parties acted as if the event was indeed cancelled.
Note from Hal: Notice that nobody is addressing an approaching festival and the needs of the audience. Everybody is just talking about MacGregor’s need for more money. Why couldn’t he just stick to the original contract and accommodate our needs as a venue renter? It’s because he really didn’t want the festival, he wanted the money and have to do as little as possible for it.
He discouraged us as much as possible and his emails prove this.
HORNING’S HIDEOUT WAS THE ORIGINAL LOCATION
It all started when we got thrown out of Horning”s Hideout. Now Horning denies that the cancellation at his venue was his fault. As previously pointed out to his attorney, it is abundantly clear that Horning was aware that he was not in compliance with county regulations and had been repeatedly warned that the venue was at risk.
Furthermore, he did nothing to allow Shakedown to reveal and then proceed under the state large-event waiver. Horning misrepresented his situation with the county since the beginning stating “permits are not a problem”. The cancellation at Horning’s Hideout was absolutely Horning’s "fault."
Soon after Horning told me to find another venue (the fest was already being promoted for 9 weeks), I called LMG about the availability of Columbia Meadows. We were most concerned with the guarantee of permitting. We chose it because it was in the same area, seemed friendly and could guarantee a permit.
Lowell MacGregor was asked for a venue rental contract immediately due to the fact we needed to advertise the new location. It was an emergency. The entire festival was up in the air and the public knew nothing about what was going on behind the scenes.
SCI BASELINE Ticketing would not resume ticket sales until we tendered a new venue contract and was now requiring a permit. It was becoming clear that we a new enemy was developing, that was Neil Glazer, the former GM of SCI Ticketing. It was becoming clear that they have a real conflict of interest because they were promoting their String Cheese Incident festival at Hornings Hideout. They sent their attorneys in to procure the only festival permit made available from the county since all other fests would be kicked out in mi-stream. What tan incredibly stupid county, Washington County Oregon, nothing but dumb asses.
MacGregor was unwilling to send me an email confirming this but said he would get us a contract, that his word was good and that we had the venue. We discussed a basic rental figure and there were no strange stipulations at that time. After pleading with him almost daily and being promised daily, it took Lowell MacGregor six and a half weeks to get us an urgent contract. He constantly remained me that he “saved our show”. I guess saving a festival is allowing someone to rent your property than canceling the event just before the renter can open the gates.
We finally received a vague, poorly written, brief document that was not useable. We sent it back and pushed through our attorney to get the contract back. We signed it without having time to negotiate specifics of many terms that were left general. We need a venue contract for a month and a half in an emergency and this is what we got? This showed clearly how bad these guys were. The easy things all of a sudden became impossible.
advertisement THE SHAKEDOWN CAMPOUT & MUSIC FESTIVAL HAS A NEW VENUE, SUNDAY ADDED! NOW AUG.
26, 27, 28 August
18. 2005 To
All Shakedown Fest fans, We,
the people organizing The Shakedown Campout & Music Festival apologize
for any inconvenience created by the move from Horning’s Hideout to
Columbia Meadows on US 30 in Saint Helens, 35 mins.
NW of Portland. When
we contracted Horning’s there was no indication of any concern at all with
Washington County. Bob Horning told us we did not need a permit, he had it
all covered and that the local community was cool. Apparantly
not so. We thought we found a paradise. Bob and Matt called us on July 7
suggesting we find an alternative site, that things had turned sour with
the county. Now
Bob has big problems and we need to continue to build The Shakedown. We
moved fast. Columbia
Meadows, which is offering weekend camping at your car for the first time
at The Shakedown, was the only safe bet in town for a venue. A farm without
proper zoning or fast permitting would not work due to time restrictions.
We believe its about the music and the people. Anyone
feeling they need a refund, just go to Baseline (thru our site) or the TicketsWest location you bought your tickets at. We
understand. We also understand that our crew working together, can
reconfigure the event to a larger format. So we added Sunday with no extra
charge. Previous 2 day tickets are now worth 3 days and we are adding early
entry on Thursday, August 25 at 4pm. More bands are being booked this next
few weeks for Sunday so stay tuned. The artist lineup for Friday, Aug. 26: GALACTIC, MEDESKI, MARTIN &
WOOD, SAGE FRANCIS, BENEVENTO RUSSO DUO, THE BIG WU, GLOBAL FUNK, DJ LOGIC
AND BIG ISLAND SHINDIG. Saturday, Aug.
27: MICHAEL FRANTI AND SPEARHEAD, AND
MAKING THEIR OWN SUMMER APPEARANCE AT THE SHAKEDOWN FEST IS HYDRA FEATURING
MICKEY HART AND PARTICLE, also on Saturday- SOULIVE,
JERRY JOSEPH AND THE JACKMORMONS, ROBERT WALTER’S SUPER HEAVY ORGAN,
SKERIK’S SYNCOPATED QUARTET,
DJ LOGIC, GREEN LEMON FROM COLORADO AND SEATTLE’S FLOWMOTION. Sunday, August 28t:
THE SHAKEDOWN CAMPOUT & MUSIC FESTIVAL HAS A NEW VENUE, SUNDAY ADDED! NOW AUG. 26, 27, 28
August 18. 2005
To All Shakedown Fest fans,
We, the people organizing The Shakedown Campout & Music Festival apologize for any inconvenience created by the move from Horning’s Hideout to Columbia Meadows on US 30 in Saint Helens, 35 mins. NW of Portland.
When we contracted Horning’s there was no indication of any concern at all with Washington County. Bob Horning told us we did not need a permit, he had it all covered and that the local community was cool. Apparantly not so. We thought we found a paradise. Bob and Matt called us on July 7 suggesting we find an alternative site, that things had turned sour with the county.
Now Bob has big problems and we need to continue to build The Shakedown. We moved fast.
Columbia Meadows, which is offering weekend camping at your car for the first time at The Shakedown, was the only safe bet in town for a venue. A farm without proper zoning or fast permitting would not work due to time restrictions. We believe its about the music and the people.
Anyone feeling they need a refund, just go to Baseline (thru our site) or the TicketsWest location you bought your tickets at. We understand. We also understand that our crew working together, can reconfigure the event to a larger format. So we added Sunday with no extra charge. Previous 2 day tickets are now worth 3 days and we are adding early entry on Thursday, August 25 at 4pm. More bands are being booked this next few weeks for Sunday so stay tuned.
The artist lineup for Friday, Aug. 26: GALACTIC, MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD, SAGE FRANCIS, BENEVENTO RUSSO DUO, THE BIG WU, GLOBAL FUNK, DJ LOGIC AND BIG ISLAND SHINDIG.
Saturday, Aug. 27: MICHAEL FRANTI AND SPEARHEAD, AND MAKING THEIR OWN SUMMER APPEARANCE AT THE SHAKEDOWN FEST IS HYDRA FEATURING MICKEY HART AND PARTICLE, also on Saturday- SOULIVE, JERRY JOSEPH AND THE JACKMORMONS, ROBERT WALTER’S SUPER HEAVY ORGAN, SKERIK’S SYNCOPATED QUARTET, DJ LOGIC, GREEN LEMON FROM COLORADO AND SEATTLE’S FLOWMOTION.
Sunday, August 28t: TBA
I soon discovered Lowell wasn’t just incompetent but had no experience working with outside promoters on the full range of multi-day music festival components (it’s allot different than just being a stage manager for a one day concert) and was unwilling for me to have any control over the concert venue other than putting the bands on stage. He strangely thought the concert area was his to manage and I should manage the festival camping area. It became obvious that we would have to give up a lot to put the show there, but what choice did we have in those time restraints?
Lowell MacGregor Group was to receive 82 ˝ % of beer and 87 ˝% of food vending.
LMG contracted with us early while still at Horning’s to manage the stage and to handle and manage vendors and obtain sponsors. In a region of microbrews, they were unable to secure any sponsors of any kind. Relatively few crafts vendors were able to get through the system to get a booth. LMG knew that I was very upset at their handling of our vending/ sponsor affairs and Eric Meyers at LMG said on more than one occasion “it’s disgraceful”.
Lowell was in total denial of any wrong-doing and was combative with me when I complained about the poor performance and effort. Real good customer service skills there Lowell! He said repeatedly “they were doing a good job”. Is he delusional? Though requested, we never even received a final list of vendors, and it was our festival. Columbia Meadows has no web site and when asked why repeatedly, I was ignored.
Eric was also forwarded the band’s advance information containing documents that needed to be returned to our co-promoter before gates opened. By Wednesday August 24, we contacted the bands to see where this information was and most of the bands never received it. Did he just screw up again and just sent this important information out too late or did he know something then. Maybe it was not necessary to expedite this info.
Other annoying factors in dealing with LMG: The venue’s production literature and management’s thoughts were that they were going to stop vehicles not only to confiscate beer but to take food. I don’t think they understood what a music festival and campout is. People campout and eat. They also like beer and wine. They also like to dance and smile a lot. We’ll never know how much.
At first, until I took him by the shoulders and looked in his eyes explaining the right way, he was against people camping next to their cars. In addition, Lowell did not want people parking for one day allowed to walk into the camping area. I’m not making this up. They refused to allow me to speak to the Security Company until less than a week before the event. This is nuts!
I think much of his disdain for us comes from an email I sent to Eric months ago when I saw the depth of their ineptitude in vending and sponsor procurement I said “Lowell MacGregor sucks” in the context of my complaint. Lowell couldn’t handle criticism.
I have even heard some saying I left with ticket money. Untrue, all of the funds available were spent up to show except for what was budgeted for production. We had enough money to get us to the show and planned it that way back before Horning’s. We had additional funding available to us, with notice, if there was an emergency. We did take in additional funds in the preceding days for various things. The gate funds were going to be substantial and would have paid easily for the balances even though our investors stood behind us until MacGregor canceled, then they too jumped ship and abandoned the event. This was Tony and Hank Armand of Daytona Beach, FL. They too ended up lying to me.
Lowell MacGregor obviously did not believe there would be enough in attendance to cover costs, or he would not have been so scared to pay his bills. We would have had 5,000 – 8,500 people at least attend the event. We sold 2,400 tickets up to Thursday morning. Days before, Lowell told my attorney that “he had to balance the cost of litigation with amount he’d lose in unpaid costs”. Does this sound like a guy who really wants to work with his renter. His fatalistic dream was self-fulfilling. I hope his ego feels real good at causing such devastation among so many… a bad, bad man he is.
He and Eric have been telling people “ we lost ---- thousands of dollars” and “we were going to lose $30,000, $40,000”. Those of us at Stylus never understood these claims. We did nothing to cause them any concern for getting paid. In the event of financial loss, we would have absorbed those losses, if there were any.
People around me have asked if they did it just to get there hands on $35,000 of our money?
Ased on their threats, I guess they needed the money really bad.
You can’t cancel a major event because you think you might not get paid. You have to not get paid first. We had investors and were able to make any payments necessary. Lowell MacGregor had his attorney tell ours it was over by 10-11am on the 25th and then something happened to awaken it again. Finally by 1pm there was no willingness on their part to do what they said the night before they would.
Lowell signed a contract renting us the venue as long as we met our obligations. We were current on all bills the morning of August 25 and intended on making our next $25,000 payment that day. His used last minute demands, threats and shakedown methods because he knew he had us. His sick, egotistical, paranoid mind destroyed all of the wonderful experiences we would have had, despite the negative venue vibes.
Yes, I am not from Oregon. Nice way to welcome a visitor. It’s not easy to believe someone who is distant. But we live in a global market now and whether I’m from Portland or Texas, there should have been more care in taking of our needs, the client. We were bringing commerce to rather lame market. We were bringing employment, taxes and advertising that area globally. We were paying LMG to do a job, not the other way around. We deserved a certain level of respect for that and it was not there. Eric was pleasant at first, Lowell never, but as soon as Eric’s promises fell apart, the rest was a spiraling breakdown of complicity with our needs.
We chose that area for the type of people we thought were there. Those that know me, believe in me. Jason Szabo and I worked every waking moment to bring a high quality event for the money. Both Jason and I were really concerned about handling every aspect of the event as professionally as possible for a first time event. But the main parties we depended on most and who promised us how great they were failed us. The regular people were great and for the most part, the local contractors were good to deal with but the primary characters in the play killed us.
Now and since the event, I consider the Portland market and Oregon a hostile place to put a music festival. That’s why you see so few good ones there, I am right.
We feel we really got screwed. The professionals on the inside that knew me and how well we did our job all summer will agree what we say here is true. Lowell MacGregor, his company and Eric Meyers and Kayla Hutt are incompetent as hell and misused my trust in them. They broke our agreements in fundamental ways of spirit beyond their tortuous and negligent behavior.
If they had just been honest about their inabilities and been cooperative to an honest, outside promoter with festival experience. If there had been ANY degree of harmony between our companies, if they had just rented us the venue, taken their payment and shut up, I would have been happy. But they had to prove what incredible ass holes they are. Now everyone in the region will know, they are very, very, destructive and bad people. I told my attorney a month out in an email “Lowell is a very dangerous man”.
This was the only Portland area outdoor venue that was willing to guarantee us the OK on a permitted venue within the 2-3 days we required so that we could try to make the marketing seamless. Many thought our festival was cancelled around July 8 so it was important to transition the web site and all print and broadcast ads asap.
In addition, the basic up front cost of Horning’s Hideout for our event was $7,000. The basic cost at Columbia Meadows was $110,000. This means that you have higher costs to overcome before you breakeven, plus the clear fact many complained about the new venue from negative past experiences.
Other costs expanded on our side of the event as well. We never expected to make a ton of money on this event, at least not in the first initial years. We just wanted to get the first event off the ground and would move it to some peaceful farm after this first painful experience. The people in that part of the country will never receive the benefit of my work and the entertainment we would have provided over the years to come.
This was why we expanded the event to 3 days and increased the talent lineup with additional headliners at no additional cost to the ticket buyers. We wanted to give more for less. We were givers. Lowell MacGregor and Eric Mayers were clearly untalented, mindless, selfish takers
We were really proud to have the chance of just presenting such an outstanding lineup. We felt the music and the diversity of the audience would overcome the poor perception of the venue. Everyone was in agreement that Horning’s was an ideal place for this type of event.
Greedy? I didn’t even take a salary because I was still getting paid from my regular position with the travel company I was co-founder of in Daytona Beach in 2002. I didn’t want to use any of the resources for myself, just get everything we needed, which we did, things were smooth until the Horning’s Hideout location failed. I am now out of that travel company.
Most jamband fests do not make money their first year. We only wanted to do better than breakeven but once the show was booked and repackaged, the response was good and we were hearing that the nationwide jam population was digging it. Selling tickets in 37 states and 3 Canadian provinces is exemplary of the response. Even with the excitement, we didn’t expect 20,000 people. We felt that over the entire weekend with one day and three day tickets would see up to 8,500 jammers. Patrons ingress for 4 days so it adds up to a big shindig, or at least that’s what we were planning. Horning’s would have seen just a 2 day ingress.
My life was shattered as a result of Lowell MacGregor’s cruelty. So many upset and disappointed people. Many, many people lost time, emotion and money. The senselessness of it all. Your disgust for the whole situation is valid. Just don’t direct your anger toward me.
I tried as hard as I could to keep Lowell MacGregor from canceling the festival for weeks. The dark forces were stronger than me and my people. We were not interested in fighting, once he cancelled, we were most concerned about getting out alive.
I gave everything for this event. I am truly sorry for every one of us.
LMG was telling people:
to circumstances beyond venue control the show has been cancelled.
Please contact The Shakedown Festival Office at:
Hal Abramson with Stylus Shows”
“Due to circumstances beyond their control”,
Hal said: What dirty liars, it was totally under their control”.
This catastrophic outcome was totally unnecessary and was their doing.
Since this man and his company are so hateful and vindictive toward me, I will repay the favor of offering you their contact info.
Lowell Macgregor Group, LLC
Lowell MacGregor Cell: 360-433-1040 President firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Mayers Cell: 503-475-4913
Ofc: 360-696-9093 Fx: 360-735-7661 Prod. Mgr. email@example.com
My favorite quote from
August 18, 2005 8 days before the festival….
“If you don’t like the way we run our business, take your festival elsewhere”
I should have.
He has our $35,000 and we got nothing but trouble from dealing with this creep.
Their LMG site is filled with
denials and lies in response to this letter.
With all of the incredible people that wanted this event, we would have together made an event that would have settled elsewhere and grown over the years to become one of the most magical events in the region’s history.
Many good vibes would have been had by all.
Stylus Shows, Inc. is out of business. Hal still promotes festivals around the world.
If anything here really disturbs you, feel free to write to:
“Sorry for the way it all turned out.
I know it would have been a successful festival for years to come.
It's a shame it had to end on someone else’s terms.”
A Eugene, OR friend of the festival
Aug. 30, 2005
"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."
Abraham Lincoln -