$400,000 rap for Flo-Rida's no-show
International rap superstar Flo Rida and his management have been ordered to pay more than A$400,000 (NZ$516,190) to the organisers of Newcastle's Fat As Butter festival over his notorious no-show at the event last October.
The 32-year-old singer, whose real name is Tramar Dillard, infuriated 11,000 fans at the $110-a-ticket event when he told organisers, minutes after he was due to go on, that he would not be performing.
"Flo Rida has slept in and will not be able to make the concert," organisers told the waiting crowd.
"We think he will still be able to do the Mounties concert, but may have difficulty attending."
The organisers, Mothership Music, sued Dillard and his management, VIP Entertainment and Concepts, in the NSW District Court for breach of contract and damages.
At a hearing last week - that the rapper and his management again failed to attend - Mothership Music said 2000 patrons had left the festival as soon as the cancellation was announced, leading to a loss of food and beverage sales.
The organisers were flooded with angry emails, and blasted on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, leading to the loss of valuable sponsors and a significant drop in ticket sales for this year's festival, which they were forced to sell for $99.
In handing down her decision last week, Judge Judith Gibson said: "All of these angry patrons demanded a refund, sometimes in confronting language, such as: 'You guys didn't deliver what you advertised and I paid for.'
"People spoke of being "angry", feeling "ripped off", being told "bullshit" and "unfair and slack conduct".
As well as an upfront payment of $55,000, Mothership Music also recouped almost $7000 it spent on air fares, "appropriate motor vehicles" and hospitality for Dillard and his entourage.
The rapper and his Australian agent, Darren Ayre, were also ordered to pay damages for loss of revenue suffered at last year's festival as well as losses for poor ticket sales and lost sponsorship for this year's event.
"Sponsors were lost as news of the no-show spread far and wide through the use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube," the judge said.
"The no-show by Flo Rida damaged the trading reputation of the plaintiff, impacting its ability to stage future events, attract patrons and compete with rivals in the music event industry," Judge Gibson said.
She ordered the rapper and VIP Entertainment and Concepts to pay $380,400 in damages and $37,745 in legal fees.
In March, the NSW District Court imposed a freeze on assets Dillard has in Australia.
Brent Lean, who runs Mothership Music, said officials had been unable to contact the rapper during a recent visit for the Supafest tour and his appearance at the Logies. The court then allowed a claim to be served on him via Facebook rather than in person.
Festival organisers have contracted US group Good Charlotte and another seven international acts to play at this year's festival in an effort to boost ticket sales, the Newcastle Herald reported.
-Syndey Morning Herald with Newcastle Herald and agencies