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Treeline refunds to go out Friday, ticket vendor says

A crowd gathers in front of a stage in the background of the image.
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.

Treeline Music Fest will initiate ticket refunds Oct. 6, according to information from Front Gate Tickets.

More than a month has passed since Treeline suddenly announced its cancellation. TheAug. 31 announcement, posted on the festival's official social media, stated that ticket purchasers would receive automatic refunds in "as little as 30 days."

Only customers who purchased their tickets directly through Front Gate Tickets will receive refunds, according to the announcement.

The price of a three-day general admission pass, which would cover the whole festival weekend of Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, is listed on Treeline's website as $141. Single-day passes started at $74.

The cancellation announcement, which came as a shock to many, stated only that Treeline was facing "significantly higher than expected" expenses.

The Missourian recently reported that Trio Presents, LLC, the production company that has owned and operated Treeline Music Fest (formerly Roots N Blues) since 2019, intends to dissolve due to financial insolvency. This information was obtained from a letter sent to the city by lawyers representing Trio Presents.

According to documents obtained by the Missourian, Treeline's organizers remained in contact with the city's Convention & Visitors Bureau up until Aug. 30, the day before the cancellation.

Trio Presents could not be reached for further comment.

Richard King, the festival's former owner, owned and operated it for more than a decade before selling to its current owners, Shay Jasper and Tracy Lane, in 2019.

"It's sad. There were quite a lot of people involved in building that thing," King said about the cancellation. "I think collectively there were a lot of broken hearts."

King owned and operated The Blue Note for more than 30 years. In 2019 he purchased another venue, Cooper's Landing, which became his primary focus after selling Roots N Blues.

His friendship with Lane, he said, dates back to when she worked for him at The Blue Note in the 1990s.

"I just hope that Shay and Tracy are able to recover," King said. "That's first and foremost to me."

After Roots N Blues successfully bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic with high attendance in 2021 and 2022, King said he felt the festival was stable.

"My sense was that they were fine," King said. "They were rolling; they had two really good years."

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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