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Yesterday, we noted that organizers behind the two American Music Inaugural Balls had cancelled their two events—-the Legends Ball and the Urban Ball—-at the last minute. Dionne Warwick was supposed to host the Legends Ball while Ludacris was supposed to MC the Urban Ball. The press release noted that the organizers’ ball juggling was historic: “It will be the first ever two-ball event in inaugural history.” The Washingtonian quoted organizers calling the events “people’s balls.”
Not sure how they were people’s balls. Tickets to the Legend’s Ball cost $450 per. Tickets to the Urban Ball cost $350 per. If you felt the need to see both Chaka Khan and the Cheetah Girls, you got a slight deal and could pay $650 for a “combo ticket.”
Well the people apparently voted with their wallets and the events were closed due to lack of interest. But organizers did take people’s money. And they have horror stories. Take “Summer” who commented on City Desk:
“Dionne Warwick’s Legends ball was cancelled as of late Monday night, and ticket holders were never notified. However, ball organizers, “The Friends of Dionne Warwick” had ticket holder’s email addresses and phone numbers and never bothered to contact anyone. consequently, many did arrive at the Marriot Wardman Park hotel last night only to be informed by Marriot staff that the ball was cancelled. Marriot staff were told by Dionne’s ball organizers to refer ticket holders to their web site for more information. However,as of Tuesday they took down their web site and checked out of the hotel before ticket holders began to arrive! However, they managed to notify all the VIPs who planned to attend. Poor planning, inconsideration, and management on their part and very tacky.”
Organizers did in fact take down their website. This is what I got when I tried to get on its site. Apparently, Ms. Warwick has now turned into a inaugural grifter. She owes at least a few people their money back!
The Marriott staff does not appear so happy with Warwick and Co.
4:16 p.m. update: Mark Indre, the Marriott Wardman Park‘s director of public relations says: “The hotel was very disappointed because we were looking forward to hosting the event.” He says the scene last night went like this: “We went outside and when people came up, we apologized to them and informed them of the situation. We gave them a list of other balls that were free or at least reasonably priced.” Reactions: “Some people were shocked. Some people were angry.” On the organizers: “From what I understand, their website put up a cancellation notice” on Tuesday evening. This didn’t give anybody a lot of time to make other plans.
Indre says the Marriott lost money but won’t go into how much they lost. On plans to sue the balls’ organizers, he also refused comment.
Indre also did not have a phone number for the organizers.
5:15 p,m. update: Indre says the hotel ended up donating as much of the food as they could from the cancelled balls. 360 pounds of pork ribs, 700 pounds of pork loin, 780 pieces of chicken parm, a thousand rolls, 32 assorted pies, 180 dozen bagels, nine dozen biscuits, four cases of bananas, and one large sheet cake were donated to D.C. Central Kitchen.