A dispute with the Crowne Plaza Hotel North in Phoenix has left the Arizona 420 Festival homeless. Instead of starting today as scheduled, the three-day event has been cancelled.
"We had a contract all set in to be coming to set up today and as we approached the vice president greeted us and demanded $10,000 in cash," festival organizer C.J. Johnson from E-Concert Live said Thursday. "When we tried to pay with our card, he refused it and then had the police kick us off the property along with all our set-up guys, our generators and everything else."
At issue was hotel occupancy. Johnson allegedly agreed to fill the hotel with attendees rather than pay a $59,000 fee in advance. The Crowe Plaza was far from sold out.
"Personal politics has nothing to do with this, it's purely an unfortunate decision we had to make for the good of the business," states Adam Stanchina, the hotel's general manager. "We had a payment deadline of three days ago. We extended that all the way up until this morning at 11 am."
But Johnson tells CelebStoner that the Crowne Plaza sabotaged the event by not taking reservations from attendees: "Only 21% (of the tooms were occupied), but it was because the hotel was telling callers they were 'sold out' and 'no rooms available.' We had to almost threaten them to stop killing our event - 75% of our ticket holders booked at other hotels because the reservations desk said it was sold out. The media made us look like we didn't pay our charge and it was nothing of the sort. We were set up."
Nearly a thousand tickets were sold and 40 vendors were lined up for the event. Refunds will be made "very soon," according to the festival's website.