Good evening friends and thank you for reading my blog. I have been rather frustrated recently and working my ass off to make ends meet so I haven’t been able to blog much over the last few months. You know its really annoying when people you do work for don’t pay you when they are supposed to, or at all. I’m so fed up with having to deal with issues from those people out there who owe me money. This is one of those situations:
In July 2007 I received a phone call from a business partner of mine. He informed me he had just received a call from Earth Dance Austin asking him to show some artwork at their festival in September 2009. He informed me that he wanted to bring some other artists out to the event and asked me to make some phone calls. I called one of my artist friends and he said he was very interested in vending at the Earth Dance event. He notified me that if I payed the $100 vending cost he would compensate me so he could attend. I went ahead and made the payment via paypal and sent him the application to fill out.
Well in the middle of August I was notified by my friend that the Earth Dance event in central Texas was canceled. Notified by my friend NOT the event promoters. Earth Dance Austin made NO effort to inform me of their canceled event via email or otherwise. I contacted Austin Earth Dance and asked why the event was being canceled and requested a refund for the $100 vending permit I had purchased for my friend. Earthdance Austin did not contact me back at all. After a week I logged into paypal and filed a dispute over the payment. Paypal sent the dispute to Earth Dance Austin and notified me that Earth Dance Austin stated: “If an event date/time is rescheduled or postponed, there are no cancellations, refunds, or exchanges.”
I found this very interesting considering that they did not make this statement when I made the purchase and it was also not included on the vendor application. This statement was made AFTER THE EVENT HAD ALREADY BEEN CANCELED! As you can expect I was rather upset.
I notified paypal that the terms of refund had not been clearly stated at the time of checkout and only AFTER THE EVENT WAS CANCELED. Paypal deemed the claim in my favor and would have awarded me my $100 had Earth Dance Austin not cleared their account out already. Earthdance Austin also tried to get me to attend an alternative event in exchange for attending the Earth Dance event. I did not attend and had no interest in the alternative event for the following reasons: The alternative event was not promoted well and nobody I knew had heard about it. The alternative event catered more to music and musicians while the Earth Dance event catered to artists. It was for these reasons that the artist I was representing did not want to attend the alternative event.
So now what should I do? Paypal had approved me for my refund but Earthdance had cleared the account out before I could receive it. I did not want to take any of the alternative events because they were not the crowd we had been expecting to vend to. I emailed Earth Dance Austin several times asking them for my refund with NO RESPONSE! I then decided to email the Earth Dance Umbrella Organization and explain the situation to them.
Reavis Daniel Moore, the co-founder of Earth Dance, contacted me back and said that “We are following up and will try to help resolve. Earthdance promoters are independent and we don’t control budgets/finances. But we are doing all we can to get this sorted.” I have emailed him and called him since with no further reply. However after I emailed Reavis Daniel Moore I did finally receive an email back from Darla Horton at Earth Dance Austin. This email contained an attachment from another vendor who was also upset with Earth Dance Austin over their event. Darla Horton told me “If the group (EDA) will not go forward with the refund, I personally will make sure I get you the money back.” This has not happened and I have had no further response from Darla Horton, even after sending multiple emails.
I contacted the other company that had had complaints with Earth Dance Austin. They informed me they had decided to attend the alternative event and it was a nightmare. Not only was there a very small crowd but they had some of their inventory stolen and ended up loosing money over the whole event. They informed me that I could use them as a reference if I wanted to file with the Better Business Bureau. I decided to give Earth Dance Austin another chance and sent another round of emails. After I received no response I followed through with my formal complaint to the Better Business Bureau. I did not mention the other company and only stated my personal complaint and issues with the organization.
Now it is November 2009, this issue has been ongoing since August and I still have not been reimbursed for my $100. I have continued to send emails and did receive another response from the Earth Dance umbrella organization, this time from Abigail Lewis the Executive Director of Earthdance International. Abigail Lewis told me “Earthdance International is not directly involved in nor do we have control over individual event productions, but we certainly do not want anyone to have an experience such as yours. We will keep you posted.” I contacted her back requesting a resolution and have still had no response from her or anyone else affiliated with Earth Dance or Earth Dance Austin.
It is my opinion that Earth Dance Austin has scammed those interested in participating in their event. It is my opinion that they have taken payment for ticket and vendor sales and used the money for other purposes. They did not properly notify participants of the cancellation and tried to pawn everyone off on an alternative event that was much smaller and less successful than the one they originally promoted and promised. It appears to me that they have no intention of repaying me my one hundred dollars. It is for that reason that I am writing this article to inform others so that nobody else falls for the Earth Dance Austin Scam. I do not want to participate in any Earth Dance event in the future and I urge you to participate AT YOUR OWN RISK.
UPDATE: After I created this post I logged onto the earth dance site and began to send their members links to it so that others could be warned about the risk of dealing with this organization. Reavis Daniel Moore contacted me and said that they were still trying to resolve the issue but in my opinion that was a lie. Earthdance also banned me from their network. I have sent them several paypal invoices and tried everything short of a small claims lawsuit to recover my money. I’m considering taking this step or getting with others who got ripped off to file a class action suit against the organization. Times are tough these days and that $100 would have really helped me out. The money I was expecting to make at their event would have helped out more. Instead they have screwed me over and I feel ripped off.
I have also talked to quite a few other people who were trying to work with the Austin Earth Dance organization and the general consensus is that they did not do anything right in the organization of their event. I would like to warn the community and let them know to avoid doing business with the people involved with Earth Dance Austin. I understand that because of the bad press they have received they will be changing the organization name. No matter what they change it to I would advise anyone to avoid doing business with Reavis Daniel Moore or Darla Horton.