Supafest, the all-ages urban music festival, has locked in its lineup and its locations for its April run in less than a month’s time, and despite it announcing its ticketing and venue details while still owing investors nearly $2 million in debts, as well as owing fan’s refunds over Supafest 2012, promoters Paperchase Touring are optimistic about this year’s edition.
Paperchase Touring co-founder and Supafest promoter Dwayne Cross has spoken out about how this year’s Supafest 4 – featuring the likes of 50 Cent, Akon, and T.I. – is a safer bet than previous years, and how organisers are keen to distance themselves from the negative press they’ve been receiving in the media.
Indeed, as previous coverage demonstrates, much of it is to do with last year’s run of no-shows, cancellations, and financial woes. A SmartCompany report revealing that creditors were owed in excess of $2 million from Paperchase Touring, while thousands of ticket holders from last year’s event were awaiting refunds after a number of the headliners, such as P, Diddy, Missy Elliot and Rick Ross, were pulled off the lineup; with some revealing that they were never even booked for the event.
Dwayne Cross says however, there’ll be no such drama for Supafest 4. “What I’ve done this year in particular, is use a number of artists that I’ve worked with over a period of time,” the Paperchase co-founder tells Pedestrian.TV in an interview; “Due diligence has been employed by myself and the team we are working with to figure out how the line-up is going to be powerful and sell tickets but also be promoter friendly.”
Mr Cross says that this year’s lineup is more reliable than previous year’s gambles, because there is already an established relationship with a number of acts on the 2013 bill. “We’re working with people we have history with. I’ve toured 50 [Cent] here a couple of times. I’ve toured Akon. T.I. has been committed to us for well over a year,” he said. “We’ve been really safe with the people we’ve picked. They’re media friendly, we have relationships with them, and we can rely on them.” Dwayne Cross, Supafest Promoter
“We’ve been really safe with the people we’ve picked. They’re media friendly, we have relationships with them, and we can rely on them,” he adds.
There was little such case with hip-hop superstar Rick Ross who, Mr Cross says, has cancelled on the promoter on three previous commitments. “Three times he’s been a no show,” says Mr Cross, including last year’s Supafest 2012. “For us in particular, he was paid in full, flights were paid for, visa’s were paid for, everything was done in the standard manner. For whatever reasons, political or otherwise, he just decided not to show.”
Rick Ross’ cancellation was one of many that led to the 2012 fallout, that included Paperchase Touring delaying ticket refunds to disgruntled punters, getting dragged into a lawsuit brought forward by the PPCA over failing to pay $13,200 owing in collective royalties; before US-based booking agents, the American Talent Agency, slapped Paperchase Touring with a lawsuit in the the New York Supreme Court.
Seeking $US 1.92 million from Paperchase for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation and contract interference; the American Talent Agency’s beef was that the Supafest promoters failed to pay the full contract amount for Kelly Rowland and T-Pain, while only paying 2012 no-show P. Diddy just $200,000 of a promised $1.6 million fee.
In the Pedestrian.TV article, Mr Cross says the bad press “aggravates” him: “If you look at the history and go back through the roll-call of all the artists we’ve toured here, it’s clear we’re at the forefront of urban and it’s clear our track-record for delivering far exceeds the very few instances where we haven’t been able to deliver.”
That track record includes Dwayne Cross’ involvement with over 60 urban acts touring down under, including the debut Australian tours for Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Rihanna. “There is a passion for this genre of music that I really have. That’s the only thing that aggravates me, when I read press and comparisons to other promoters and other events, with people saying that they’re looking to capitalise on the market and it’s been done unprofessionally over the last blah, blah, blah,” says Mr Cross.
One such comparison is the fact that Supafest 4’s April dates just so happen to be going head-to-head with Live Nation’s Nas-curated Movement festival, and while the Paperchase Touring founder might not like the comparisons, they are inevitable when two major hip-hop and urban music festivals are taking place on the same day in Australian capital cities.
The all-ages Supafest 4 clashes with Movement in Sydney on the 26th April, Supafest taking place at ANZ Stadium, while across town the likes of Nas, Bliss N Eso, 2 Chainz, and Chiddy Bang play Hordern Pavilion.
Supafest then rolls into Melbourne on April 17th at Flemington Racecourse as Movement takes over the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, then the two head for Brisbane the following day, at the RNA Showgrounds and Riverstage respectively.
Supafest 2013 Lineup
50 CENT / T.I / AKON / NE-YO / WAKA FLOCKA FLAME / J COLE / YOUNG JEEZY / MINDLESS BEHAVIOUR / DJ UNK / DJ NINO BROWN / DIZZY DOOLAN PHINESSE / KEVIN MCCALL
Supafest 2013 Dates & Tickets
Members Special Limited Pre-sale Tickets On Sale Monday 11th March Midday – Midnight (12hr Members Access)
General Public Special Limited Pre-sale Tickets On Sale from Tuesday 12th March Midday