Marty Stuart To Headline Big Taft Block Party

This appeared on - May 31, 2011

Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives will be the headliners for the Hippo Entertainment Kickoff Block party on Center Street on June 10, 2011. Eric Derrington of Hippo Entertainment made the announcement Tuesday morning. Stuart plays a wide range of music ranging from country to southern rock to bluegrass to gospel. Has performed with music legends like Travis Tritt, Connie Smith, Johnny Cash, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan.

[A Friday night concert at the Taft Fox Theater featuring country singer Marty Stuart has been cancelled. Concert
promoter, Eric Derington, told the Taft Independent that financing for the multi-band concert became unavailable forcing the cancellation of the Center Street concert. Local bands Good Question, Fat Katt and the Von Zippers were also scheduled to play. Derington said that ticket refunds would be made beginning next Wednesday, June 15th.]

Update by the Taft Midway Driller on June 15:

Things have gone from bad to worse for Hippo Entertainment and the Fox Theater.

After first downsizing then canceling a planned street party featuring country music star Marty Stuart, Hippo Entertainment ran out of money to refund people who purchased advance tickets for the planned June 3 event.
The building still has not deemed ready for public events.

According to information obtained by the Midway Driller, the Fox still has not been inspected and the city will not allow any shows to go on.

To make matters even worse, a well-placed source told the Midway Driller that checks sent to the City of Taft for permitting and license fees have been refunded for insufficient funds.

Eric Derrington of Hippo entertainment told the Midway Driller late Wednesday that he ran out of money Wednesday but will reopen Thursday at noon to refund any ticket holder that hasn't already been reimbursed.
“We will have more than enough money to hand out to everybody,” he said.

“We just quite literally ran out of cash today,” Derrington said in an interview just before 7 p.m. Wednesday. “We offered refunds to everyone but we ran out of cash. It takes two signatures to pull money out of the back but we could not get the other person over here in time.”

He said he has a partner who handles the finances and that person needs to sign along with him to take cash out of the bank. Derrington said he had heard nothing about checks paid to the city bouncing. “That's the first I've heard of that,” he said. "I am not aware of any of that,” he said.

Derrington attended the weekly Sit 'n Sip at the Taft Chamber of Commerce and said it will take at least a month to get the theater up an running. He said he planned to spend the day handing out refunds.

But by late afternoon the money was gone and the doors were shut. One large marquee on the main entrance still advertises refunds on Wednesday. On a marquee over the smaller theater, the marquee says “Road to Nowhere.”

Update by the Taft Independent on June 15

Ticket holder Julie Cook says that she could not get a fund for two VIP tickets she had purchased from promoter Eric Derington for the cancelled Marty Stuart concert.

Angry ticket holders were furious this afternoon after being told no money was available for refunds for a Fox Theater concert that was cancelled last Friday.

About a dozen people stood outside the offices of Hippo Entertainment on Center Street and expressed anger at concert promoter Eric Derington who told the small crowd that he had already paid out $1,500 dollars in refunds that day and that ticket holders should return tomorrow at noon to get their refunds. Some in the crowd disputed Derington's claim that he had paid out any money.

Several said that they had been at the Hippo Entertainment office at 522 Center Street several times during the day and that the door was locked and no one was available. "I bought 2 VIP tickets," said Julie Cook of Taft. "Eric told me they would issue refunds at 9 a.m. Wednesday and nobody was here."

"A sign had later been posted on the door saying that refunds would be issued at 4 p.m." At one point, Derington invited the crowd into the office and instructed the Taft Independent reporter to remain outside since he was not a ticket holder. Once inside, Derington explained to the ticket holders that he would have refunds available on Thursday. While talking, Derington gave an unflattering hand sign to the Independent reporter as photographs of Derington and the ticket holders were taken.

Local businessman Bill Friendly left the office office empty handed. "I told him I was going to the television stations and the district attorney," Friend said.

Derington announced in May that he was buying the Fox Theater and would bring concerts to downtown Taft.
The city of Taft granted Derington a permit on Tuesday, June 7th to hold a concert on Friday, June 10th featuring country singer Marty Stuart and 3 other local bands. Derington had earlier said that John Anderson would headline the concert but later cancelled.

On Thursday, June 9th Derington announced the cancellation of the Stuart concert due to a death in the family.
Derington had earlier told the Independent that tickets sales were not going well.

Updated by the Taft Midway Driller on June 16

Frustrated music fans started getting refunds on their advance tickets for the Marty Stuart concert Thursday. Just before noon, a woman walked into the Hippo Entertainment office next to the Fox Theater, opened the door, and started handing out cash to people who brought their tickets in.

Julie Cook was relieved to walk out into the noon sun with cold cash in her hands. “I got my money. I got my money,” she said. Cook came down Wednesday to pick up her refund but found the theater and office closed and no one around. “No one was here,” she said. She had purchased two $40 tickets and her daughter bought two for the cancelled June 3 concert.

About 11:50 a.m., the door opened to the office and Cook and a half dozen or so others who had lined up got their refunds. Cook got $160 in cash for her tickets. She was afraid she wasn't going to get anything. “I was very skeptical. I got a heck of a runaround,” she said.

Yalonda Hodges also came Wednesday looking for a refund. She was one of the first in line Thursday. She was at the office twice Wednesday looking for a refund but didn't see anything.

Hippo Entertainment was supposed to hand out refunds on Wednesday. Hippo's Eric Derrington said he handed out more than $1,500 but Cook and others said they never saw anyone get their money.

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