Six months ago the festival season was in full swing with huge numbers of international and local artists touring around the country and taking full advantage of the warmer weather.
But for one such event, Fat As Butter, the mood on the day was far from warm and fuzzy after American rapper and headliner Flo Rida was a no-show to the popular Newcastle music festival.
To make matters even worse, the rapper didn’t have a good excuse. Festival promoters, Mothership Music, and paid his $55,000 fee well in advance, and even arranged travel to and from the festival.
But after an alleged disagreement over accommodation in Sydney, something that Mothership Music had no control over, the rapper chucked a tantrum and went ‘walk about’.
The incident unfolded before promoter Brent Lean’s eyes just two hours before Flo Rida was due on stage at the festival, as Flo Rida’s tour manager rang Lean to say that the star would not be performing at the event.
“We basically got a call at 3:00pm saying Flo Rida had thrown a hissy fit, was not happy about his Sydney accommodation and had stormed off,” Lean said at the time.
“We were hanging on with great hope that he would perform, and went to great lengths to make contingency plans in the hope that he would show up late. However, the festival had to go on, so we delivered the news that Flo Rida would not be appearing as soon as we got word the he had definitely cancelled.”
“Fat As Butter had nothing to do with Flo Rida’s accommodation bookings in Sydney. We were only responsible for his transport to Newcastle, which we had arranged and had waiting for him, as agreed to. We fulfilled all of our obligations in regards to Flo Rida’s booking and appearance.”
The sudden disappearance of the festival’s headline act left organisers red faced, and left the more than 10,000 fans who had paid up to $120 a ticket high and dry.
But Mothership Music weren’t going to take Flo Rida’s actions lying down, launching legal action in New South Wales to wrestle the rapper’s performance fee back and ask for money to offset the damage he’d caused to their credibility.
Six months later, New South Wales Judge Judith Gibson has ordered Flo Rida, real name Tramar Dillard, to pay Mothership Music $80,000 including damages for failing to show up to the festival.
“We are seeking costs that we expended, out-of-pocket expenses including accommodation, vehicles and damage to our client’s business and goodwill,” Mothership Music attorney Stephanie Borg said, nut admitted they were “having trouble serving him at the moment.”
According to News Limited, Judge Gibson also ruled if Flo Rida failed to comply with the order than his assets in Australia would be frozen, although it is unclear exactly what assets the rapper would have in this country.
Flo Rida is currently in the country doing a series of gigs at shopping malls and made an appearance at the Logies Award over the weekend. The case is back in court tomorrow to hear more evidence regarding out-of-pocket expenses.