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Wellness And World Music Festival Promoters Under Fire

The Desert Hot Springs Wellness and World Music Festival is on hold until Spring 2011.

It was supposed to happen next month. But the announcement was made Tuesday by city manager Rick Daniels.

It’s been nine months since the city started planning the festival.

Daniels said the event hasn’t properly been marketed and that the city was not prepared to sell tickets — drawing attention squarely on the promoter.

“It will be a world class event that this community deserves and I’ve been assigned to deliver,” said Daniels.

But, when News Channel 3 asked if he was confident that the event would happen, Daniels said he could not guarantee it would happen.

“There’s no guarantee an airplane won’t fall on us right now,” he said.

News Channel 3 pointed out that that theoretical airplane didn’t cost the city $250,000.

“No, but we feel that the event is financially secured and that the assets that have been developed so far by the promoter will and be valuable to the city,” said Daniels.

According to Daniels, at least $100,000 of the city’s invested $250,000 have locked up talent contracts for the festival with the ability to reschedule.

Reggae musician Ziggy Marley will perform. Wellness experts such as Dr. Steven Gundry will attend as guest speakers.

Security, traffic and parking plans are in place.

The festival was simply not marketed properly.

When asked if it was accurate to say that Daniels was disappointed with the promoters performance, he said, “I think they’re a good team. I think if anything we tried to overreach.”

News Channel 3 obtained a copy of the contract between the city of Desert Hot Springs and Tresed Ventures — owned by Tony Clarke.

The contract is signed by city manager Rick Daniels, Clarke and city attorney Ruben Duran on Dec. 4, 2009.

On page five of the contract, it said, “The terms of this agreement do not guarantee that the festival will occur. The parties understand and agree that compensation to Tresed Ventures under this agreement is payment for pre-production and planning services actually provided, and that such pre-production and planning do not necessarily guarantee successful execution of the event, or that the event will occur.”

“I’m not in a position to answer what he’s done with the money, and all I know is that the contract the city entered in with him has been complied with fully,” said Daniels.

Clarke did not attend the meeting. But his partners Wayne Baruch and Charles Gayton did.

Baruch and Gayton are credited with promoting Super Bowl halftime shows and World Cup soccer games.

Clarke’s background in promotion is less clear.

“Primarily, it’s his background in bringing talent to the table,” said Councilwoman Jan Pye. ” That’s where his primary skill is, and that’s where you get the marriage of he and Baruch and Gayton.”

But when asked if she could point out any specific examples of Clarke’s promotional accomplishments, Pye said, “Not right now off the top of my head. No.”

City officials with close ties to the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity said the city never requested proposals from other promoters.

Clarke Baruch and Gayton were the first and only choice. Daniels confirmed that.

“I’m a little bit said about it that its not happening in October,” said Saline Pollermann, the general manager of Aqua Soleil Hotel and Mineral Water Spa.

However, local hotels are confident that the festival will still go on.

Right now, it’s just a waiting game, with the spotlight squarely on the promoters.

“It will not cost the city any more money,” said Daniels. “The rest of their money’s going to have to come through private sponsorships and alike.”

Pye confirmed that in 1998, the city paid another promoter $40,000 to promote a Woodstock concert to be hosted in Desert Hot Springs.

The promoter was paid up front, but no contracts were involved.

The concert was canceled and the city never recovered the money.

As of now, the Wellness and World Music Festival is slated for Spring 2011.

KESQ News Team

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