July 21 2011 06:01 PM

Organizer cites last-minute financial problems

beer
Photo courtesy www.sandiegobeerblog.com

Beer fans might want to sit down before they read this: America's Finest Beer Festival, a massive brew festival slated to go down at Qualcomm Stadium this weekend, has been canceled

Valerie Harrison, President and CEO of the Rancho San Diego-Jamul Chamber of Commerce, the nonprofit that was putting on the event, explained in a letter posted on the festival's website a few minutes ago that the event's been canceled because the organizers became "financially overextended at the last moment." Tickets bought on Ticketweb will be refunded immediately and booth and VIP sales will be refunded as soon as possible, the letter says. 

Here's the letter in full:

Dear Vendors and Supporters: The Rancho San Diego-Jamul Chamber of Commerce volunteers and mostly volunteer staff has worked for nearly six months to put together one of the finest beer and music festivals in San Diego. As a small nonprofit, we wanted so very much to do this event for the community and USO San Diego as a fundraiser because everyone on the team supports our military and their families that sacrifice so much for our country so we wanted to do something wonderful to help raise funds. 

Unfortunately, due to a combination of challenges caused by an unforeseen financial shortfall, and some of our financial backing that we relied upon heavily became financially overextended at the last moment, we are devastated and forced to cancel the event. The most critical factor is that it was at the last moment not leaving us enough time to find financial backing. As a result, we do not have the funds to pre-pay for all the equipment that we need for the sound, lighting and stage for the bands, tents, tables, etc. Another challenge is that the city informed us that the event will be cancel unless someone to step up to help cover the final costs of the stadium venue by 5 p.m. today. 

We anticipated the event to be a huge success for the vendors and service providers. Speaking with many vendors, they stated that they know in their hearts that we did everything and more to promote the event, which included nearly $110,000 media campaign in magazine advertising, radio stations, TV appearances and street teams to ensure that our vendors made a good profit from this event. 

We are all devastated not only because we let you down but our team of volunteers put in so much of their our own, personal finances and nearly 100 hours a week without a day off for nearly five months to make this event happen. The saddest part is that at the gate ticket sales for the event would have covered all the festival expenses and allowed us to make a generous donation to the USO San Diego, if we just would have had the opportunity to move forward. 

Please know that we did everything to pull this off, there was no personal financial gain and nothing but a good faith best effort made for a good cause. 

We planned this event with the highest degree of honesty, integrity and best intentions. Booth vendors and VIP ticket sales used to pay our bands and festival promotions to make this happen will be returned and we will make every effort possible to return all booth and VIP ticket sales as soon as possible. 

We realize this is upsetting and everything in our power will be done to reimburse everyone as soon as possible, if you can be patient. If you paid by Ticketweb refunds will be made immediately. 

We thank the military community for their support and thank you for your service to our country. I am sorry and Please accept my humble apology. Your understanding and patience is so very much appreciated.

Sincerely, 

Valerie Harrison

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