Ticketholders and event sponsors are set for refunds after organizers postponed a Wednesday concert scheduled in response to the Lafayette theater shootings, after relations between the event’s promoters and musicians unraveled amid concerns about the validity of the concert as a fundraising effort.
A number of news releases issued for the event touted the LOVE for LAFFY concert as a benefit show featuring a handful of Acadiana-area musicians, but organizers did not clarify until four days before the event where the proceeds would go. That vagueness raised questions among both the community and the musicians.
“All of the questions and concerns raised were valid and, I think and hope, as good in intention as all of our intentions have been all along,” LOVE for LAFFY founder and event organizer Nicholas Landry said Tuesday.
Relations became tense between Landry and some of the musicians when they either backed out of the event to do other work or asked for payment after realizing that no one was sure where the proceeds were going, Landry said.
“It is heartbreaking to me that so many amazing people may have so much work to do in repairing relationships, even me, for something that was born from so much good,” he said.
Landry, a St. Martinville native who works in event planning, said the idea for LOVE for LAFFY began as a fundraising effort for the theater shooting victims — “but we also knew that it was a sensitive topic, and we didn’t want to bombard anyone in the process of healing by asking them to go public with us for the benefit.”
Event promoters on Saturday announced proceeds would benefit a bank account created in support of a Red Lerille’s Health and Racquet Club employee injured by the gunfire.
Although LOVE for LAFFY is not registered as a nonprofit, it had partnered with health and wellness magazine “Love How You Feel Acadiana” — which holds nonprofit status as an environmental education program — to hold sponsorship money and to legally distribute any proceeds made from the event, said Bernard Graham, the magazine’s publisher.
Secretary of State records show Matthew Thibodeaux, an organizer with the event, registered “Love of Laffy” as a limited liability company on Aug. 6, with organizer Nicholas Landry acting as an officer.
Landry on Aug. 11 registered “Love for Laffy” as a low-profit limited liability company with the former company listed as an officer.
State law requires low-profit LLCs must use their profits to fund charitable or educational goals that don’t involve political or legislative lobbying activities.
Several news releases distributed in August for the event stated “proceeds will be going directly to fund LOVE for LAFFY community initiatives to be announced in the coming weeks,” without detailing those initiatives any further. Promoters had said the organization’s intent is to “foster beneficial relationships” within the creative community.
Graham on Tuesday had begun the process of refunding the corporate sponsorship money he’s been holding for LOVE for LAFFY. Landry said ticketholders also will receive refunds.
Tickets ranged from $25 per person and went up to $500 for ticket and gift packages.
Bands scheduled to perform at the concert included Ray Boudreaux, Pine Leaf Boys, Hunter DeBlanc, Quiet District, Social Circle, Alex Smith, Gabe Broussard, LillyBrave and Oh!Kelly.
Note: This article was changed on Sept. 8, 2015, to reflect that state law does not require low-profit limited liability companies to donate any assets toward charitable organizations.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.