Seven weeks after the event, more debt from the BottleRock music festival has come to light.
A security company that provided stage security staff for the five-day festival is owed $217,000, said a company representative. To date, a rough estimate of the amount owed to vendors who have spoken publicly tops $1.78 million.
Christy Feener, vice president at NES West of Rocklin, said festival organizers owe the business the six-figure sum for the work of approximately 150 staffers at BottleRock.
“We’ve never gotten a dime,” said Feener. The manager said she was given two checks from BottleRock organizers, one on opening day of the festival and one two days later. The first was 50 percent of what NES estimated it would be owed, and the second check was half of the remaining half owed.
By the Monday after the festival had concluded, both checks had bounced, she said.
Feener said that festival co-founders Bob Vogt and Gabe Meyers then assured her that she would get paid two weeks after the festival or “in another few weeks.” The last promised date was June 14, but NES remains unpaid, she said.
On Tuesday, Vogt said that he is in regular communication with the security company. He cited conversations with John Langenstein, vice president at NES East.
“He is supportive and confident we are going to take care of our obligation with them,” said Vogt.
Langenstein, based in Pennsylvania, could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday afternoon.
Vogt said he had no comment regarding the two BottleRock checks written to NES West that were reportedly returned for insufficient funds.
Feener described herself as “very concerned” about the situation.
“We all know that when you do a first-time festival things can go a little crazy,” Feener said. “We were willing to work with them if we had received a good-faith payment.” However, “that’s a big chunk of money” left unpaid, she said.
“We are hoping that they’ll come up with a solution before we have to take any further steps, but it’s not looking very promising,” Feener said. “We’re now looking into other options,” including a possible lawsuit, she said.
Last week, bus company Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation sued BottleRock organizers for $524,239 in unpaid bills. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 16 stagehand union has filed a grievance against organizers for $630,000 in unpaid wages.
“I have been in contact with the Napa Police Department” about the bounced checks, Feener said. While she has not yet filed a complaint with police, “they are aware” of her situation, she said.
Napa police Capt. Jeff Troendly could not be reached for comment for this story by late Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s crazy. I have been in this business 28 years. We have done events across the country. This has never happened to me,” Feener said. “Come up with a payment plan,” she urged festival organizers. “Give me something now. Give me a token. Anything. And let’s move forward.”
It’s too bad, because the festival went fairly well, she said. “It’s just unfortunate that people got in over their heads.”
“We’re waiting for the white horse to come in and rescue us and it’s not going to happen. It’s getting ugly.”
John Neumann, owner of Neumann Enterprises, a limousine, valet and parking service, was more optimistic. Neumann’s company was the parking vendor for the festival. He’s been paid about 25 to 30 percent of what he is owed, he said.
The business owner wouldn’t say what that total amount was or how many employees he had working at the festival, only that he had “a big staff” that worked for five days controlling 10 parking lots.
“I don’t want to badmouth anybody,” Neumann said. “I don’t want to be that guy that doesn’t come back next year” to work at the next BottleRock, he said.
At the same time, “I’ve been in business 20 years and this has never happened,” he said. Not being paid the full amount “hurt me but it’s not going to put me out of business,” he said. “We’re able to get through it.”
The city of Napa issued its final invoice to BottleRock in mid-June, said Recreation Supervisor Kelly Abernathy. BottleRock’s bill for city services totaled $369,518.
Of that, $262,789 has been paid, Abernathy said. The remaining $106,730 is due July 11.
At the end of May, Napa Valley Expo CEO Joe Anderson said BottleRock’s total bill would be more than $752,000. As of May 28, the Expo had received about $442,000.
The balance was due on June 24 and has not been paid, Anderson said on Tuesday morning. He will report at Wednesday’s fair board meeting that BottleRock organizers are in contract negotiations “with a partner that looks like they will bail them out,” Anderson said. “I’m very hopeful they are going to take care of business. Only time well tell.”
The California Highway Patrol has been paid in full by BottleRock, said Officer Anna Paulson.
BottleRock organizers had also said as much as $1 million would be donated to a list of charities at the festival’s conclusions.
On Tuesday, Vogt said that his main objective was “to get anybody that’s owed money paid.” Expect an announcement “fairly soon” about new investors in the festival, he said.
In addition, “we are expecting a very large amount of money” from Cindy Pawlcyn and Sean Knight of CP Cooks, the food and beverage vendor for the festival, Vogt said.
BottleRock organizers and representatives from CP Cooks are in a dispute about the money owed to the festival.
According to Vogt, after a $1 donation per drink was earmarked for charities, BottleRock was to get 67 percent of the net from food and beverage sales. That money should cover what the festival still owes vendors, Vogt said, “If not, very close.”
Vogt would not say the total amount owed to BottleRock vendors.
Pawlcyn and Knight continue to dispute Vogt’s account. “We’re not withholding money from BottleRock,” Knight said earlier this month.
Reached Tuesday, Pawlcyn said she was abiding by a confidentiality agreement and declined to comment further. “I wish I could say something. We are working on it and we are trying to move it forward,” she said.
A number of other BottleRock vendors, including Mecaela Miller, the wine and food partner liaison with WillPower Events and BottleRock Napa Valley, declined to be interviewed for this story.