Monday 21 October 2019

VestiVille music festival in Belgium cancelled on its first day and organisers are charged with fraud

A$AP Rocky was concerned about safety at VestiVille
A$AP Rocky was concerned about safety at VestiVille

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Belgian music festival VestiVille has been compared to Fyre Festival after being shut down in its opening day.

The major of Lommel, the city where the festival was supposed to take place, said that it could not go ahead because of security reasons.

VeistiVille tweeted on Friday night that the city's mayor Bob Nijs cancelled the festival after safety concerns were highlighted by A$AP Rocky, who pulled out of the festival after visiting the site.

In a statement on Twitter, the rapper apologised to fans for his cancellation, but said that because of problems with safety and facilities, he would not be performing, alleging that organisers lied to him.

“I won’t be performing today due to security and infrastructure concerns which relate to the production of the show,” he wrote.

“The promoters told me it would be handled but unfortunately for you and me, they didn’t. I want to give my fans the best show ever but due to the security and infrastructure problems, I will not be performing.”

Promotional videos for VestiVille promised its attendees the opportunity to “relax in natural surroundings and unwind in tranquil settings.”

It promised luxury villas with private gardens “full of surrounding amenities”, however videos emerging from the site of the festival suggest the opposite, and many who showed up, unaware that the production was cancelled, reported that there was no food, water or security.

Later, the prosecutor’s office for Limburg said three of the festival organisers had been charged with fraud involving false invoices, forgery, money laundering and abuse of trust.

Attendees were reportedly waiting outside the main gates for several hours before they were allowed entry and it was even more time before they were told it wouldn't be going ahead. Others were reportedly left overnight on the site before being shuttled to a nearby railway station on Saturday. 

The festival was set to feature headline act Ja Rule, one of the co-founders of the fraudulent Fyre Festival, which was also cancelled after luxurious facilities were promised but not delivered. Many are comparing VestiVille as 'Fyre Festival 2.0'.

The festival was due o take place the weekend of June 28 to June 30 in Kristal Park, Lommel, and was advertised to have secured acts of the caliber of Cardi B, Future, Jason Derulo, Migos, Meek Mill, Ashanti as well as Ja Rule and A$AP Rocky.

Organisers said via the official Twitter account that they “will now consult with their official partners about a refund."

According to the Brussels Times, three of the festival organisers had been charged with fraud involving false invoices, forgery, money laundering and abuse of trust. It's reported that the charges were brought by suppliers who have not been paid. Quoted spokesperson Jeroen Swijssen fpr the prosecutor's office said they were questioned on Friday night.

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