A postponed April 15th “Lights Fest” event in Lexington, Missouri is raising red flags for some on social media.
After organizers and owners of the venue called the event off due to weather, some frustrated patrons took to Facebook.
Facebook user Karen Vogel Isbell wrote “So I think its a scam. Has anyone actually contacted the farm to confirm event is even known about?”
Stacey Martinez Sloan wrote, "It's a scam. The dates keep moving..."
But the owner of the vineyard hosting the event says “The Lights Fest” is the real deal.
Bret Fahrmeier of Fahrmeier Family Vineyards tells 41 Action News that organizers for the event, Viive Events LLC out of Utah, personally attended public hearings, and went through hoops to obtain a special use permit with Lafayette County.
“They pretty much made us call everybody but NASA to be able to do this festival. Highway Patrol. They wanted us to call MODOT, wanted us to call FAA air traffic control out of Kansas City,” said Fahrmeier.
Fahrmeier says Viive paid for the rental of his property and shipped merchandise for the event on top of submitting extensive safety plans with the county.
“Just shy of 60 pages on safety,” said Fahrmeier. “We had a very intense safety plan built. Fire and crowd control safety.”
Safety, Fahrmeier says, is why the event was postponed after weather forecasts showed potential hail and thunderstorms in the area with more than 20 mph winds.
“What were we going to do with 4,000 participants in a hail storm? With that many people it would have been really hard to get them into a safe area,” said Fahrmeier.
But some on social media saw a pattern with the postponement.
Viive Events struggled to get lanterns off the ground in a handful of California locations, leading to an “F” rating on Better Business Bureau for the young 8-month-old company.
Brett Muir with Viive Events tells 41 Action News that the company is working through those hiccups and trying to find new locations, but getting the proper permitting in California counties has been a hurdle.
“Anyone wanting a refund gets a refund,” says Muir, who explains a hird party ticket company, events.com, handles all ticket sales and refunds. Muir explains the 2 to 4-week refund policy comes from events.com.
In a statement sent to 41 Action News , Viive Events says in part:
“We apologize for any inconvenience [the postponement] has caused but the safety of our participants is paramount.”
Responding to the BBB rating, Viive Events says:
“The BBB is hardly a comprehensive evaluator but we certainly disagree with the rating we currently have. The 5 complaints we've received we have answered and we expect the rating to improve.”
Organizers have tentatively rescheduled the Kansas City Lights Fest event for June 3rd, but lawyers for the county and the event are combing over whether the permit granted by the city carries over to that date.