Locals suffer Roxodus fallout
On the day Roxodus was to begin, Michele Frustaci is left dealing with the fallout of the event’s cancellation.
He and wife Fiona, of MMEA Italian catering in Stayner, were prepared to serve the masses attending the rock concert in Edenvale from July 10-14. They took out a $20,000 loan to pay fees, buy supplies and hire additional staff. Michele says he is left with thousands of chicken and veal cutlets, handmade meatballs, cans of tomato sauce, boxes of pasta, not to mention the extra equipment purchased to store all of the food. Despite the investment, Michele said what bothers him the most is that event organizers have disrespected his community.
Michele said Roxodus officials sent an e-mail last year soliciting interest from local vendors. He said he applied to be a vendor because he knew it would be a big event, something exciting for Clearview and he wanted to be involved, plus there was a chance to make money and reach a large number of customers. Fiona said there was a lot of paperwork involved and approvals needed. Then, they received an e-mail asking for a $700 for water access followed by a request for $2,000 for the booth, and that payments were to be made by e-transfer only. Michele said he had been under the impression that local vendors wouldn’t be charged fees. In fact, promoter Mike Dunphy said during a March 4 council meeting that local suppliers would be favoured and local vendors will not be charged for a booth. But it was explained to Michele that because he was a food vendor he would have to pay. He agreed, and sent the money. Michele said he was promised prominent placement amongst vendors and that he was to be ready to serve food beginning July 10, when the masses would arrive to set up for camping, and have food available all day until 1 or 2 a.m. for the duration of the festival.
Michele, an experienced caterer, purchased food accordingly. He purchased 4,000 veal cutlets and 4,000 chicken cutlets to make veal and chicken parmigiana sandwiches. Two weeks ago, he began preparing, hiring extra help.
Last Wednesday, July 3, Michele said he was on his way to pick up another 4,000 cutlets when he heard on the radio that the event had been cancelled.
“No one had the kindness to e-mail us and say stop what you are doing,” he said.
Michele said he had no choice but to fulfill the order. He spoke to people at the Wasaga Beach market, where he is a vendor, and many people were upset. One woman was crying because her son had come all the way from British Columbia and was left with nowhere to camp.
“If he doesn’t have mercy for 30,000 people, why would we have mercy for him?,” said Michele.
He said he is most angry that organizers have made a fool of the community. Clearview could have come out looking fantastic, if the event had gone off without issue, he said.
“We make it with our heart, not with our pocket,” said Michele.
Later on July 3, the Frustacis received notification from Roxodus, the same message that was posted on their website about weather being the reason for the cancellation.
Many other businesses have also taken a financial hit from the event’s cancellation but it looks like ticketholders will see a refund. The ticket vendor Eventbrite has said all funds for the reimbursements are coming from them.
“All Roxodus ticket holders are being made whole,” officials told The Echo.
“After multiple attempts to communicate and secure funds back from the abruptly-cancelled Roxodus festival in Ontario, Canada, the organizers have provided no indication they will refund ticket holders. We believe attendees deserve to get their money back now,” tweeted Eventbrite Help on July 6. “We have set up an Eventbrite-funded Fan Relief Program to make all ticket holders whole as we continue to aggressively pursue the return of funds from Roxodus. We are transferring funds to ticket holders immediately and they will see it in their account within seven business days.”
Michele said he has reported everything to the police. As for the food, there is some talk of finding a way to help MMEA move some of its extra fare. He is at the Stayner Music, Market and Park It.