The organizers of Santa Barbara’s annual West Beach Music Festival filed for bankruptcy this week, having suffered negative profits after this year’s event.
Twin brothers Joshua and Jeremy Pemberton, owners of Twiin Productions, filed under chapter seven to liquidate their company’s remaining assets and must repay investors and vendors for services rendered during this year’s event, held in September. The brothers’ attorney Joshua Lynn said the company was unable to make a profit with this year’s festival because the city imposed continuous legal hurdles in the approval process.
“The overall is that Twiin Productions appears to have been treated differently than other similar event coordinators in terms of the level and kinds of government intervention,” Lynn said. “The accumulative total is they were unable to raise enough revenue to stay in business.”
However, City Facilities and Special Events Supervisor Susan Jang-Bardick said constraints were placed on the festival this year in response to problems with noise complaints, underage drinking and parking permits in 2009.
Furthermore, Santa Barbara City Council member Das Williams said the city should have allowed a larger venue for entertainment sake, but that local government wasn’t responsible for the company’s financial shortcomings.
“For my part I wished that the city had allowed a larger amount of folks because I think it would have been better if the festival had survived, but I do not think it was the city’s fault,” Williams said. “My understanding was that they were … unable to make a profit the last two years and I think they were trying to come close to a profit this year, but they were not able to.”
The city’s conditions this year included relocating the festival grounds, reducing it to a two-day event and limiting the number of attendees. According to Lynn, because the city did not give Twiin Productions enough time to comply with these demands, the company was forced into failure.
Additionally, the city will not permit future large-scale events until officials can create new guidelines.
“We did not have a lot of plans in place so we are working on a policy for such events,” Jang-Bardick said. “There was an exception for the West Beach Music Festival, but until we come up with a policy to replace our moratorium on large scale music festivals, we are not going to have anymore.”
Despite the city’s increased permit requirements, Anthony Borgatello, Liquid Waste general manager for Marborg Industries, said Twiin Productions announced bankruptcy because its organizers failed to assess consequences of the city’s strictures.
“They knew going into the event what the requirements from the city were,” Borgatello said. “It is not like the city came after the fact and said these are our requirements. So to answer your question, it was poor planning on their part. I think the city was upfront with them on what was required and what was needed from them, and they decided to go forward with it.”
Marborg Industries was one of the vendors Twiin Productions failed to pay after providing waste services for this year’s West Beach Musical Festival. Borgatello said the Pembertons owe him and his father an excess of $40,000 for their services.
According to Jang-Bardick, Santa Barbara is unable to help Marborg Industries or other vendors recuperate their lost revenue.
Aside from promoting the West Beach festival, Twiin Productions has been a co-sponsor of UCSB Greeks’ All-Sorority Beach Volleyball Tournament in past years.