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And she was one of the lucky ones; prior to the event, bands didn't get contracts, and even when they arrived to play, there were no published set times. Artists slated to perform were even walking around with cardboard boxes that said, "Tips/Spare change."
Luckily, other players at the festival had legal recourse. Game was supposed to headline the first day of the festival. On the day of the event, the organizers called his management, saying they didn't have enough money to pay the rapper. "Those organizers were a joke," Game's manager Delaney McGill told the Weekly. "You have one of the biggest rap artists in the West Coast, and that Sept. 3 weekend, his album debuted at No. 1 in the country—and you can't pay!" McGill says Game is filing a lawsuit against the festival organizers and sponsors for damages that reach to seven figures.
"Bottom line is, they damaged my client's image and reputation," McGill says. "Game has millions of fans, and he's never had a problem in the past selling out shows in the OC area. . . . I want them to know that it wasn't his fault, 1,000 percent. The ones who did purchase tickets to see him, I hope they got their money back."
The Weekly has tried to get in touch with ESP to get its version of the story, but its website has been scrubbed, its office in Costa Mesa shuttered, and numerous phone calls and Facebook messages have been left unanswered.
Ascher says it's hard to say whether the festival had the sole intention of fleecing money off investors. "It would seem that from the numbers they were giving that they knew this was nothing like Coachella or Electric Daisy Carnival, but they were putting it in the same league as those events," he says.
Doll says, "I would love to go along with that [theory], but I don't believe it. I believe they wanted it to be great and just needed to raise capital. I believe it was legitimately set up so they could do it again, and they just failed."
This article appeared in print as "Playground Throwdown: With scheduled headliner Game filing suit, accusations of fraud are still popping up a month after the two-day festival."