Dozens of bartenders who worked Pride in the Park, a music festival held in June to celebrate LGBTQ Pride, are still waiting on their paychecks.
The two-day outdoor music festival, which began in 2019, was June 25-26 in Grant Park with sets from Alesso, Saucy Santana, the Chainsmokers and various drag performers. Dreambrite Presents and Special Events Management orchestrated the event, which was supported by several businesses, including Truly Hard Seltzer.
Workers who tended bar at the event, however, claimed that they have not been paid in full and that information about when they can expect their pay has been scarce. Workers claim that they were paid their tips in August, but that they have not yet been paid their $10 hourly wage.
The Block Club looked at the bartenders’ group texts and found that many of them hadn’t been paid for the event. Other text messages showed employees asking event organizers about their paychecks and when they might arrive.
“You don’t know everyone’s situation and what that $10 an hour means to somebody, especially when so many people live paycheck to paycheck,” said Adam Marrero, a bartender who worked the festival and hasn’t been paid for his hours worked. “When people are taking time out of their weekend to work an event, they deserve to be paid.”
Pride in the Park employed 94 bartenders as independent contractors, said Chez Ordoñez, a spokesperson for the festival. Of those bartenders, 26 were already paid their full hourly wage and tips upfront due to a clerical error. All performers and support services staff have also been paid, he said.
That left 68 bartenders who still need to be paid, including eight team members who haven’t filled out their necessary tax forms, Ordoñez said. All remaining paychecks were sent by the end of Friday, he said.
“[People] generally don’t get paid for music festivals until 30-60 days after the event, so that’s happening now,” Ordoñez said.
In an email sent to bartenders Friday, event organizer Keegan Moon said the delay was because Dreambrite was waiting on sponsorship and box office payments to the organization, which “are not provided generally until 30-60 days post-event.”
The email came after workers started making social media posts calling out the company for having not paid its workers.“Everyone is getting paid,” Moon said.
It also contradicted an earlier email Moon sent to staffers on Aug. 11 that claimed “the festival came in far lower on revenues and has incurred some rather large debt.”
“As a result, it would appear that 2022 was the final year for the festival for a while,” Moon wrote in the earlier email. “Therefore Dreambrite, the production company that puts on Pride in the Park, does not have the funds to pay us the hourly portion at this time.”
As Moon explained to the factory staff Dusty Carpenter, president of Dreambrite Productions and lead organizer of the event, would personally cover the festival’s debt and pay its workers, but it would “take some more time.”
Ordoñez said the message was a “poorly worded email” that incorrectly stated Pride in the Park’s ticket sales were low and its future was uncertain. The number of festival attendees was not known to Ordonez.
“Pride in the Park doesn’t do this for a profit — it’s a Pride event — so they’re fine,” Ordoñez said. “Ticket sales were fine and went as expected to go, and as of now, this is continuing to be an annual event.”
Ordoñez said he did not know whether the checks sent Friday were personally funded by Carpenter, as previously suggested, or through the festival’s revenue.
Workers reported feeling some relief upon hearing that payment was on the way but were critical of Dreambrite’s lack of communication since the festival’s conclusion.
“One of the most frustrating parts is there’s been no communication from Keegan or Dusty about what was going on until the Aug.
11 email,” said Sara Paiz, who said she was owed money for working 22-24 hours at the festival. I worked hard for that cash. I busted my a–, and my body hurt for a couple of days after the festival. That money is owing to us.”
Since Paiz had worked at other festivals where they paid staff much more quickly than 65 days, she was confused as to why this one took so long. And from July 28-31, she worked Lollapalooza, she said, and “was paid immediately.”
The company informed me that I would receive my first paycheck for tips on August 4 and my second cheque for my hourly wage on August 10. But why have I received two payments from Lollapalooza but none from Pride yet? according to Paiz.
Another bartender, Cesar Estrada, claimed he put in 20 hours but was never paid.
To paraphrase what Estrada stated, “If you work and do your job, which we all did, you should get paid on time.
Although I know some people who do not mind volunteering their time, I cannot bring myself to do so. To be paid in full for my work is a reasonable expectation. At this point, three months in, the lack of contact has been both disheartening and unprofessional.
Because employees didn’t go through the necessary channels to report difficulties, according to Ordonez, Dreambrite had never received official complaints concerning salaries until Block Club spoke to former employees.
“If a contracted bartender notices a disparity in their salary, they were individually given the process to request a review for our employees,” Ordonez added. This was to be communicated to the festival employees via email, not via text message, social media account, or any other means.
For the sake of openness, Ordonez said, Dreambrite would give independent contractors a detailed accounting of their time and compensation. For more latest updates and any query you can visit TheActiveNews.Com.