Country music fans in suburban Schaumburg were looking forward to a music-filled evening headlined by superstar Toby Keith on Saturday night, but instead they’re left looking for answers after the event was abruptly canceled.
The Freedom and Dignity Festival, which was set to be held Saturday night at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg, was called off Wednesday without warning to festival-goers, and now those fans are looking for an explanation on what went wrong.
“I would like a refund,” ticketholder Jimmy Archibald said. “I really want an explanation. No one has any answers on what happened.”
Other ticketholders say they tried to get in contact with Imagn Events, the group who organized the event, and have either gotten no response or have had their emails bounce back to them.
Some residents spent as much as $1,000 to get into the festival, which was set to raise money for the Wheaton-based Café Liberty. The group is part of the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot Foundation, which provides support and funds for veterans and their families.
In a statement, the foundation said that Imagn Events was to blame for the last-minute cancellation.
“Imagn Events indicated it lacked financial strength to perform its obligations not only to the foundation, but also to the owner of the venue, performers, musicians, workers, and suppliers,” the foundation said in a statement.
Multiple attempts by NBC 5 to reach Imagn Events for comment were unsuccessful and the company’s website is set to “private” mode, but the promoter did issue a statement to the Daily Herald alleging that the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot Foundation “seriously and irreversibly” damaged the company’s reputation.
“The Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot serious and irreversibly damaged our reputation, finances, and business contacts, all because they have failed to honor their agreement, failed to make payments when required, and put themselves first before others,” the company told the Daily Herald. “As a result we have no other choice but to exercise any and all rights available under the law and expect to be doing so in the very near future.”
Those with tickets to the event are encouraged to email email@example.com regarding refunds, but even aside from the money spent by ticketholders, most concert-goers feel the real victims are the veterans that the foundation was aiming to help with the event.
“I feel really bad for the vets,” Archibald said. “This was for them. Yes, we were all going to go and have a good time, and this was for vets to have a better life when they come back from the conflicts we have overseas right now, but as a person going to enjoy this entertainment, I feel betrayed.”
Keith has not announced the concert cancellation on any of his social media accounts.