Earthdances in Toronto

Author: Dam
Date: Nov 3, 2001
Views: 2409

Despite the problems from 1998, myself and a couple of others decided to go
forward with Earthdance for 1999. We spent a considerable amount of time,
effort and money to organize the event. The money for expenses (flights
for talent, deco, sound, space, etc.) came out of my pocket and amounted to
several thousand dollars. On the eve of the party, just as the doors were
opening, a group of Tibetans showed up with placards protesting the party
and questioning where the money raised was going to end up. The organizers
from the previous year happened to be present and the conversation got
rather heated. Eventually, myself and one of my partners who was helping
spoke with the main representative from the local Tibetan community and
convinced them that our intentions were good and that we would disclose all
expenses, and information on ticket sales/receipts as quickly as possible
after the event. They ceased their protest and we invited any of them who
wanted to attend (which several did).

Within about 2 weeks of the party I had prepared a spreadsheet detailing all
of our costs, advance tickets sales, sales at the door, etc. which left us
with a profit of about $1200. I first asked the Tibetans where we should
send a cheque. I received no response. After several attempts at
communicating with them, I asked the organizers from the previous year if
they could give us a contact within the Earthdance organization to figure
out where to send the money. I tried a couple of different email addresses
and again got no response. A couple of months passed, I was out
travelling for a month and then when I returned had nasty emails asking where the
money was. I replied by saying that I had not received any replies to my earlier
querries. Also, I admitted that I had spent some of the money and could
they wait a month or so while I sorted it out. Apparently this was not
too cool (and yes, I probably should have been a bit smarter). Anyway, I
borrowed the money from someone else so I could repay it right away. Right
away became about another month ordeal while I worked my way through
various people to find out exactly who I should send it to. Finally, I sent a
certified cashiers cheque to someone in the US. For those not familiar, a
cashiers cheque is not issued until you pay the funds to cover the cheque
so it is essentially a guaranteed cashable piece of paper. The person who
received the cheque in the US told me that their bank said it could not be
cashed and could I send another one. I replied that that was impossible,
please check again with the bank. A couple weeks passed and I finally
heard back that oh, yes, in fact it could be cashed but it was going to take some
unusual amount of time and there were going to be additional expenses
because it was over $1000. (In fact, it was not over $1000US, since it was
$1200CDN which works out to about $800USD).

All together not a very pleasant experience. What I got out of this was
putting a large amount of my personl money on the line with no guarantee
what so ever that any or all of it would come back, worked my ass off to
the point of exhaustion for no pay, got shit on by the local Tibetans, and got
shit on by Earthdance organizers. I did not go into this expecting any
sort of compensation since I was fully aware that it was a charity event but I
also didn't expect to take that kind of abuse after putting that much
effort into it. On the positive side, it was a very good party which was enjoyed
by everyone I spoke with and I made some very good friends during the
process. I declined any involvement what so ever in Earthdance 2000.

Sad that such good intentions can get so fucked up.

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