John Reese’s SGE Files for Bankruptcy

John Reese and Ozzfest Meets Knottfest (Credit: Michelle Alvarez)

Synergy Global Entertainment, the Laguna Hills-based music promotion company best known for putting on events like Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival, Musink Tattoo Convention & Music Festival, and more, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Just weeks ago, SGE announced that it would be dissolving and that, as a result, On The Water Fest, which was scheduled to take place at Huntington Beach this month, would be cancelled. 

The company had grown consistently since it was started by John Reese in 2005. With the success of some of their Southern California festivals, SGE started to expand even further this year by producing events across the country, including the Disrupt Festival Tour, which took bands like Thrice, The Used and Sum 41 through 25 different states. Unfortunately, that tour was severely undersold and SGE had to cancel their Mad Decent Block Party that was scheduled in Massachusetts this summer. 

Reese was also originally a partner for last month’s Real Street Festival, which took place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, but he withdrew his financial support just weeks before the event. Apparently, this is around the time that SGE started dissolving while fellow indie promoter Danny Wimmer Presents picked up a large portion of their staff. The recent filing sheds some light on this seemingly sudden collapse. 

According to Billboard, “SGE mostly owes money to vendors, publicists, lawyers, and staging and rental companies tied to his events, along with about $500,000 to American Express. His biggest creditors are Front Gate Tickets, who he owes about $1.7 million and Groupon, who he owes $1 million, both for ‘ticket refunds.’ He also owes $445,000 to concessionaire Outer Springs of Anaheim and $227,142 to Rat Sound Systems of Camarillo.”

Reese also reportedly owes at least $342,000 in artist fees. 

With just $1 million in assets and $54,000 in the bank, SGE currently owes $8.4 million to its creditors. The full bankruptcy filing can be read here.

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