“August 4th – 12-5pm – Multiple Stages..multiple DJs….lots of flourescents. Think EDC…..in Squan….E……S……F!!!”
I went to Electric Daisy Carnival at the Meadowlands back in the Spring so when I heard that there was going to be an Electric Squan Festival (aka: Squan Festy) in a town nearby I was excited about it. My sister was invited on Facebook, who then invited me, and I invited my friends. The operators of the event requested $10 donations in the beginning, which increased to $15 closer to the day of the event. The money was supposed to go towards a bracelet for admission to the event for charity.
ESF raised $7,645 and the day before the event it was cancelled.
The town’s website announced, “The Borough has been informed about the Electric Squan Festival or “Squan Festy” scheduled to take place on Saturday August 4th in Manasquan. This event was not sanctioned or authorized by the Borough of Manasquan. The Borough has informed the promoter of the event to cease any ticket sales and inform participants that the event has been cancelled.” Instead of the event as promised, the host was telling people to gather at a bar in town for reduced price drinks. Anyone who complained on Facebook was insulted with comments such as, “Continue to enjoy your average life. When you throw even…A FAKE…party that gets 1500 people to confirm…and this much support…let us know. I am so glad I never met you and never will.” Anyone who voiced their disappointment or outrage about the fact that thousands of dollars were raised for a fundraiser that was not set in stone was belittled and labeled as a negative person, a person no one cared to party with. I could go drink at a bar during the day at any time, but that’s not what I paid for. I also could have donated that money to any number of trustworthy charitable organizations. I’m not a negative person, but I still feel like I was scammed out of $15, so does my sister, so do our friends. Many people who donated money towards the almost $8,000 do. Regardless, people… donors… shouldn’t be ridiculed for feeling as if they were gyped when, essentially, they were.
The major problem I have with the situation is the lack of trust that my money is going to the charity and not in someone’s pocket. I do not know the person who organized the event and they fell through on delivering what was advertised. It’s simply wrong. Looking back I am wondering why we couldn’t pay at the event entrance to collect our wristbands? Why did we have to pay in advance? Hindsight’s 20/20. That’s why there are so many websites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar that rate charities and nonprofit organizations on their financial accountability and transparency. They are there so you can make an informed decision about donating, so you can donate to someone that you trust will do what they promised with your money, for some peace of mind. It’s so you don’t donate to frauds, people like the men who were recently accused of running a fake 9/11 charity or for services undelivered.
I talked to my bank about the donation and they said that there’s nothing they can do unless PayPal approves the refund. I wrote an email to PayPal and received an automated response. It seems that the next step would be to call PayPal and talk to a representative. I’ll definitely be smarter about giving money towards fundraisers in the future.
*ESF pic taken from their Facebook event page.