Organizer makes good
By Samantha Joseph
MARTIN COUNTY - Larry Burdgick, the event organizer behind last month's poorly attended Treasure Coast Music and Beer Festival, said he's settled with angry vendors who said they lost money at the event.
Mr. Burdgick's company, Under the Sun Promotions, organized the inaugural festival that attracted "close to 100 vendors" who hoped for thousands of attendees during the three-day event at the Martin County Fairgrounds.
But low turnout led the vendors to circulate a petition and demand that Mr. Burdgick return their application fees, which in some cases reached $350.
"Everything has been resolved," said Mr. Burdgick, adding that he had reimbursed the fee and offered all vendors a free spot at an upcoming Under the Sun Promotions event.
The Boca Raton-based company organizes outdoor festivals across the region, including the Palm Beach Marine Flea Market and Seafood Festival, now in its third year.
That Feb. 10-12 event at the South Florida Fairgrounds drew large crowds and hundreds of vendors selling nautical and marine-related merchandise, including boats, antique collectibles, maps, marine artifacts, rods, reels, lures, lines, boating apparel and diving equipment.
But unlike the Palm Beach event, the local festival left vendors complaining they'd lost money and demanding refunds.
One vendor, Melissa Daniels, started a petition before she got the refund.
But Mr. Burdgick said the beer festival was an anomaly, ruined by forces outside his control. He said he attempted to salvage the event by waiving admission fees in an attempt to boost attendance on the last day of the festival.
"It was the rain," he said. "It started raining on Friday, rained all Friday night and all day Saturday. By Sunday, I let everybody in for free."
Mr. Burdgick declined to comment on how much he lost on the event, except to say, "It just wasn't good."