GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Courtney Hebert believes something is not right after she says the folks at Flambeau Fest have fallen silent about their future plans.
“It’s kind of disheartening,” she said. “We’ve not had any luck getting a response and now we’re already in September and there hasn’t been any word about a 2018 festival.”
She and her sister spent more than $300 on the inaugural concert in October of 2017.
“They had great headliners and opportunities to shop with different stores and vendors out there," she said.
Their excitement over the event though quickly faded. Once Hurricane Nate forced organizers to scrap the first day of the concert, that’s when she says the chaos began. “They were quick to communicate to us that they were going to issue refunds for the Saturday that we missed, but then it kind of got confusing and the communication got a little blurred,” Hebert added.
Organizers offered three options:
- A 50 percent refund
- Use their Saturday passes for day two of the event
- Upgrade to a VIP experience for 2018
Hebert chose the upgrade, sending an email to the Flambeau Refund Team the same day the concert was canceled. By the following week, the company promised her quick action, saying the request was a top priority. Part of that emailed response read:
Hebert told WAFB soon never came and almost a year later, she’s still waiting and now believes her upgrade is no more.
“It doesn’t seem like there’s going to be a 2018 Flambeau Fest, which is unfortunate. It makes me less hopeful that they’re going to give us something,” Hebert explained.
And she’s not the only one. A quick check online revealed a steady stream of similar questions on the Flambeau Fest Facebook page, all of which seemingly without a response from organizers. Hebert says the silence is unacceptable for paying customers.
“I know those people are wondering the same thing as me and they haven’t had any answers either,” she said.
Hebert was asked how the concert organizers could make the situation right. “Well, they can let us know if they’re not going to have a festival this year and if they have one in the future, I think it would be right to give the 2017 VIP upgrade ticket holders the option to do that for the future festival,” Hebert answered.
WAFB reached out to festival director, Mark Miller, to try to get some answers through phone and email asking for any response to the complaints and requesting an interview to provide an update on the process. Miller did send a response acknowledging the repeated calls and emails. The response reads in part: “I’ll catch up with you when we can talk and I’ll share more.”
Another attempt to reach Miller informed him that WAFB would be moving forward with this report and again, requesting an interview, but that email went unanswered. Hebert says she’s hurt, but not surprised.
"They haven’t been providing an answer to us either, so it doesn’t surprise me that they haven’t provided WAFB with an answer,” she said.
When the concert was announced last year, it was advertised as somewhat of a replacement for the Bayou Country Super Fest, which has moved to New Orleans. Ascension Parish leaders said then they had entered into a five-year agreement with the festival. Now, without an upgraded ticket or any sign organizers will make it right, Hebert says she wants answers and believes she and the many others who put their trust in Flambeau Fest deserve at least that.
“Just let us know and just tell us the truth,” Hebert said.
WAFB reached out to leaders in Ascension Parish, who said they do believe a future concert is in the works, but all questions about the event would have to go through Flambeau Fest organizers.