Organizer of Ill-Fated Bamboozle Festival Sued By Investor Over Alleged Unpaid $500K Loan
Music executive Anthony Martini, whose band was also scheduled to play the festival, claims promoter John D’Esposito has been in default since January.
Fred Durst and Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit perform on stage during Lollapalooza 2021 at Grant Park on July 31, 2021 in Chicago.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Anthony Martini, president of Exceed Capital and the lead singer of long-running hardcore band E-Town Concrete, has filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey promoter behind the recently canceled Bamboozle festival for allegedly failing to repay a $500,000 loan.
Problems with the Bamboozle Festival — slated to feature Limp Bizkit, Rick Ross and Steve Aoki, among others — bubbled up last month after fans revolted over what they saw as unfulfilled promises and Atlantic City officials declined to issue a final permit for the event. On April 28, Bamboozle organizers issued a statement via the festival’s official website that read, “After extensive discussions, we have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel Bamboozle 2023. An incredible amount of time, dedication, passion and hard work was invested into making this comeback a success. We appreciate everyone who supported this festival. Refunds should be requested at point of purchase.” The website has been scrubbed of all other information.
According to the lawsuit, filed Thursday (May 4) in New Jersey Superior Court in Monmouth County, Bamboozle organizer John D’Esposito failed to live up to the terms of the high-interest loan issued by Martini for the festival, likely in November 2022. Martini’s lawyer Jesse David Eisenberg appears to have mixed up the timeline in the suit, at times writing that the loan agreement was made in 2021 while elsewhere writing that the same events took place in 2022. Several other documents indicate the loan was first originated in November 2022, although no copy of the loan agreement itself was included in the complaint. Billboard has reached out to Eisenberg for clarification on the timeline.
As part of the loan, Martini allegedly agreed to advance more than $460,000 to four major booking agencies — Artist Group International, CAA, WME and Wasserman Music — to cover the artist payments for bands booked to play the Bamboozle festival, which had been scheduled for May 5-7 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In exchange, according to the lawsuit, D’Esposito would then pay back the loan, in addition to $100,000 in interest, on Jan. 21, 2023. Martini would also receive 20% equity ownership in Bamboozle, which E-town Concrete was booked to play.
In the complaint, Martini — also a music executive and former artist manager who helped develop artists including Lil Dicky and MadeinTYO — alleges D’Esposito never made the January payment and is now suing him for breach of contract.
Billboard reached out to D’Esposito, Martini and Eisenberg for comment but did not receive a response by press time.
D’Esposito founded Bamboozle in 2002 and kept the festival going for the next decade, with previous editions featuring top-tier acts such as 50 Cent, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Snoop Dogg, Mac Miller, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. At its peak, the event was drawing more than 100,000 fans over a single weekend. Following an alleged dispute between D’Esposito and his partners in the event, Live Nation and House of Blues, the festival went dormant in 2012. In an interview last month, D’Esposito told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he repurchased the festival’s trademark in 2020 in order to resurrect it.
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