US festival accused of unregistered investment sales

September 2011

Live events industry  

The organisers of an Orange County  weekend music festival in Irvine may have run foul of state law with an unusual financing scheme  – by attempting to sign up investors by allegedly using “boiler-room” style phone calls. Billed as a “new music experience in Orange County”, the two-day Playgound Festival is planned to feature hip-hop and rock acts at Hidden Valley, a grassy area adjacent to Verizon Amphitheater. Rapper the Game and rock bands the Bravery and Panic! are currently billed  as headliners according to Orange County Register, However, it seems that sales teams from promoters Elevated Sound Productions having been cold calling local residents offering exceptional returns from investments in the Festival. Steve Blasko, an ESP managing partner, denied that the company made unsolicited calls to investors. He told the Orange County Register that the company only contacted people who had previously expressed interest through the company’s website. If anyone got an unsolicited call to invest, Blasko said, it was because “wires were crossed somewhere”. Investigations by the Register say that one salesman compared the newly established Playground Festival with long-established Coachella Festival and the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and that another unsuccessfully pushed an undercover reporter to make an immediate investment.

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