UR1 Music Festival: As Organizers Prepare to Sue One Another, Ticket Holders Still Screwed
For a week last October, Hurricane Sandy spun a trail of destruction through cities in seven countries. From Jamaica to New Jersey, the superstorm killed 285 people and caused more than $75 billion in damage. One place it didn't touch, however, was Miami. So it was a bit strange when organizers blamed the storm for scrapping the year's biggest concert: the UR1 Music Festival, originally scheduled for December 8 and 9, the heart of Art Basel week.
Since then, the shadiness surrounding the cancelled concert has spread. Half a dozen Crossfade readers have complained that their requests for a refund have been ignored. Meanwhile, millions of dollars in ticket sales seem to have vanished. UR1's website hasn't been updated in half a year. And organizers are too busy preparing to sue one another to reschedule the concerts.
"I didn't think something so well publicized could be a scam," says local Joshua Cameron, who had bought two tickets for roughly $175 each. "I never thought they could actually get away with not refunding people."
- UR1 Festival Postponed, Will Be Rescheduled
The festival was supposed to be Miami's biggest music event of 2012. Artists as varied as Kanye West, Lou Reed, the Offspring, and Santigold were all slated to perform in Bayfront Park. Adding credibility were the pedigrees of the two partners behind UR1: Ultra cofounder Alex Omes and Winter Music Conference veteran Emilio Guerra. A sleekly designed website sold tickets with the slogan: "You are music. You are unique. You are diverse. You are love. You are life. You are one."
By November, though, rumors were swirling that tickets weren't selling. Then came a bizarre email announcing that UR1 was postponed, supposedly from "the continued effects" of the storm and predictions of strong winds.
Cameron was upset when he read the news. But the hurricane explanation was so ludicrous that the University of Miami medical student couldn't help but laugh. "It seemed like a completely bogus reason to cancel it," he says. "It's hard enough to predict the weather two weeks in advance let alone to know the winds would be too strong for a music festival."