NewsTeam 10 Investigates


As lawsuits surround KAABOO, music fans are caught in the middle

KAABOO music festival
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 02:57:07-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — KAABOO attracted top acts and thousands of people, but the last show was in 2019 and those holding onto tickets say they have heard nothing about its future.

DeNee Logan was planning to go to KAABOO in 2020. He went to one of the shows in Del Mar and loved it.

“As soon as [tickets] became available, I jumped online,” he said. “There was an incentive to purchase early tickets at a good price.”

He paid roughly $700 for three tickets.

As the pandemic canceled events throughout the country—including KAABOO—ticket holders received an email that if they held onto their tickets, there would be extra perks.

Since that update back in July, customers said they have heard nothing. “Problem is there [are] no phone numbers to be answered. Emails bounced back,” Logan said.

Even before the pandemic, there was a lot happening with KAABOO’s ownership.

In late 2019, it was announced Virgin Fest and its CEO Jason Felts was taking over all KAABOO festival brand assets. Virgin Fest was the musical arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin.

In September 2019, the Padres announced they released “a multi-year agreement with KAABOO” and were moving the festival to downtown. The news release quoted the then-managing partner of KAABOO Jason Felts.

"The location of Petco Park and its surrounding venues in downtown San Diego provides fans and artists alike the opportunity to enjoy everything that the vibrant metro area has to offer. We couldn't be more ecstatic about this partnership and our relocation,” Felts said.

“Our venue and the downtown Ballpark District offer the perfect setting for an event of this magnitude and further establishes Petco Park as the premier entertainment destination in Southern California,” added Erik Greupner, Padres President of Business Operations.

Despite boasting a “perfect setting,” everything was far from perfect.

KAABOO’s founders and Virgin Fest sued each other in late 2019 over financial issues.

There was also a separate 2021 lawsuit over the KAABOO festival in Texas. The lawsuit was filed by the Dunhill Festival Fund against the KAABOO’s founders, Bryan Gordon and Seth Wolkov. It accused the founders of fraud and breach of contract.

One of the most recent lawsuits was filed against the Padres by Virgin Fest and San Diego Fest Ownco in San Diego Superior Court.

The lawsuit claimed a "long-form agreement" with the Padres was never finalized. The Padres argued they had a binding agreement and the companies now owed the Padres more than $2.3 million.

“Due to the unfortunate cancellation of KAABOO scheduled for 2020 due to Covid, we will waive payment for the year 2020, but with the lifting of regulations on capacity restrictions, we were fully ready and able to hold a festival in the year 2021,” wrote Caroline Perry, General Counsel for the Padres.

Attorneys for Ownco and Virgin Fests vehemently denied they owed the Padres any money.

Attorney Harvey Geller wrote, “… the Padres apparently view its bullying power in the San Diego community to be greater than the cost of complying with its obligations under the law.”

Team 10 reached out to Geller, who said they do not comment on pending litigation and the claims in the lawsuit are “self-explanatory.”

A spokesperson for the Padres also said they do not comment on pending litigation.

An attorney listed for Gordon and Wolkov did not return Team 10’s request for comment.

Caught in the middle are fans like Logan. “The biggest disappointment is not knowing,” he said.

Julia Hall bought her ticket for the 2020 KAABOO. She said she spent roughly $500.

“Either deliver on the concert that we paid for or give us our money back,” Hall said.

With so many people out hundreds to thousands of dollars, consumer attorney Jeremy Golden said it is worth another shot to try to recoup your money.

“Try one more round of disputes with the credit card company, try it again with who you purchased the tickets from, and last resort, contact the government agency who oversees these companies,” Golden said.

The ticket vendor, See Tickets, posted on its website that they have not received any updates from the festival organizer. It listed a separate email for ticket holders to contact.

The KAABOO email bounced back when Team 10 tried to reach someone for comment. The festival’s social media pages are active, but not updated.

“I think it’s been almost a year since we heard anything,” Logan said.

The last official comment Team 10 received was Felts from May 2021, when he told reporter Melissa Mecija he was no longer working at KAABOO.

“We invested in them,” Logan said. “At least tell us what happened.”