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Treeline Music Fest production group to dissolve amid debts

A crowd gathers in front of a stage at a music festival. There are several green trees surrounding the area.
Valeryia Zakharyk
Vox Magazine
For 16 years, Treeline Music Fest, formerly known as Roots N Blues Festival, served as a celebration of roots music and a way to bring Columbia together. With the 2023 festival no longer occurring, the community, businesses and performers are looking for ways to fill the hole the festival left behind.

The production group behind Treeline Music Fest intends to dissolve, according to a letter obtained by the Missourian. Trio Presents, LLC incurred large debts, which forced the group to cancel the festival last month.

Treeline was due to take place this weekend, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, at Stephens Lake Park. Featured acts planned for this year’s festival included Salt-N-Pepa, MUNA, Ethel Cain, Japanese Breakfast, Jo Dee Messina and Noah Cyrus.

Treeline, formerly known as the Roots N Blues Festival, has been a staple in Columbia’s music scene since its inception in 2007. The organizers changed the festival’s name in February, the Missourian previously reported.

The festival’s cancellation was announced Aug. 31, citing “significantly higher than expected expenses” in a statement.

The city contributed $20,000 to the festival from the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Tourism Development Fund, which was intended to promote the festival in other markets, according to the 2023 contract between the city and Trio Presents.

According to this agreement, in the event of the festival’s cancellation, Trio Presents agreed to refund the city the full amount contributed within 30 days of the cancellation, which would be Saturday. However, in a letter sent to the tourism bureau last week and obtained by the Missourian, lawyers representing Trio Presents wrote that the company is insolvent.

“Trio’s secured debts far exceed its assets and there is no money available to distribute to unsecured creditors,” the letter read.

The tourism bureau said it is cooperating with the city’s Law Department on how to proceed.

Upon announcing the festival’s cancellation, Treeline stated that refunds for those who purchased tickets directly would be processed automatically “in as little as 30 days.” It is unclear whether the company still plans on issuing timely refunds.

Trio Presents could not be reached for comment.

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.
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