With about a week left to go, Atlantic City’s Bamboozle Festival was shut down before it even opened its doors. The concert had been set to feature Limp Bizkit, Rick Ross, Papa Roach, and DJ Steve Aoki.
“After extensive discussions, we have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel Bamboozle 2023,” read a post on the Bamboozle website. “An incredible amount of time, dedication, passion and hard work was invested into making this comeback a success. We appreciate everyone who supported this festival. Refunds should be requested at point of purchase.”
Officials told local paper The Press, that the city had not received insurance certificates, a medical plan, an emergency evacuation plan, or mercantile and facility fees for use of Bader Field by the April 27 deadline. Because of the overdue papers and fees, officials said they did not issue final payments for the March 5-7 event.
The festival was founded in 2002 by John D’Esposito and for a decade featured musicians such as the the Roots, Foo Fighters, Patti Smith, and Bon Jovi. In 2012, D’Esposito parted ways with the festival due to a reported conflict with House of Blues.
While the event’s revival was set for next month, the festival was marred with controversy before it started. Fans took to social media to air out their grievances, claiming that they had paid premium ticket rates after D’Esposito warned fans that tickets costing as much as $366 would skyrocket as big names joined the lineup. Instead, ticket prices fell as fewer than expected stars joined the bill. A spokesperson for the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Rob Rowan, told NJ.com the department received 21 complaints about Bamboozle, including false advertising to refund requests.
Fans also claimed that D’Esposito cyberbullied fans who complained; in one case, the founder reportedly threatened to publish the home address of a fan who had posted criticism about him, per The Press. D’Esposito allegedly also promised upgraded tickets as “rewards” for people who showed up at the fan’s doorstep.
The owner of Canna City Hemp, Nick Richetti, claimed that he paid $10,000 for a vendor booth and had been led to believe that there would be 20,000 to 30,000 attendees a day passing his booth. “I have emailed and made phone calls, and not heard anything back from them,” Richetti told the local outlet. “I own one small CBD store in North Carolina, and $10,000 will absolutely break me.”