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Treeline Music Festival production group dissolves, citing debts


Less than a month after the owners of Treeline Music Fest announced 2023's event will not take place, the production group has announced it is dissolving because it has too much debt.

Trio Presents, LLC is the production group behind the Treeline Music Fest, previously known as the Roots N Blues Festival.

ABC 17 News learned Tuesday that attorneys for Trio Presents sent a letter to the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau on Friday notifying them that the company will be dissolved, saying, "Trio's secured debts far exceed its assets and there is no money available to distribute to unsecured creditors."

The letter, signed by attorney Gary Pierson, with Capes Sokol Attorneys at Law out of St. Louis, states, "We understand that this is unwelcome news and Trio regrets putting you and all other creditors in this position, but simply has no other options."

Through records requests, ABC 17 News was able to get access to the budget for this year's Treeline Music Festival.

Costs were up in 2023, with rising expenses in multiple categories, including fencing, tents and restrooms, wristbands, travel, hospitality, advertising, workers comp and insurance. The largest increase was a bump of $115,000 in advertising outside of Boone County. In 2022, this cost was $20,000, compared to $135,000 in 2023.

The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau contributed $20,000 to that advertising out of their Signature Series Events funding for 2023.

CVB Director Amy Schneider wrote in an email that the letter has been sent to the city's law department. She said an agreement signed by the city and Trio Presents states organizers have 30 days from cancelation to repay sponsorship dollars from the CVB.

Records requests also show Schneider said in emails that a loss of sponsorships for this year's event played a factor in its cancelation.

Molly Healey -- a music festival planner out of Springfield, Missouri -- said this is happening all across the entertainment industry. She is organizing Springfield's third Earth Day Festival, and said she has seen costs go up this year.

Healey said costs for festival necessities have risen, including fencing and food, while fundraising has gotten harder. Specifically, she said businesses that are being asked to sponsor events aren't able to donate as much as what's needed to cover costs.

"You have this kind of awful combination of festival costs rising and sponsorships that help pay for the festivals are either not growing to meet those costs or they're actually diminishing," Healey said.

The Treeline Music Festival, originally scheduled to take place Sept. 29-Oct. 1, was canceled on Aug. 31. The letter from Trio Presents states the company looked into many options to get funding for this year's event but determined cancellation was unavoidable.

A Facebook post made by the company in August also stated people who had purchased tickets would begin receiving refunds in 30 days, which would be Saturday.

Trio Presents and the City of Columbia did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia
music festival
roots n blues
treeline music festival

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Morgan Buresh

Morgan is an evening anchor and reporter who came to ABC 17 News in April 2023.


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