Arts & Culture

Marion 'Woodstock' festival books Canned Heat after Neil Young appearance turned out to be a scam

Organizer Jim Jacobmeyer says he has learned from experience

John “JP” Paulus, Dale Spalding, Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra and Rick Reed are the current lineup of Canned Heat. (Courtesy Canned Heat)
John “JP” Paulus, Dale Spalding, Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra and Rick Reed are the current lineup of Canned Heat. (Courtesy Canned Heat)

MARION — Neil Young may not be coming to Marion for a Woodstock-themed festival, but Canned Heat is.

The band, with hits including “On the Road Again” and “Going Up the Country,” performed at the original Woodstock 50 years ago and has the Marion stop Aug. 18 at Lowe Park listed on its official website.

Nonprofit the Artisan’s Sanctuary is organizing the festival. President Jim Jacobmeyer previously had announced Neil Young would headline, but reporting by The Gazette revealed he had been taken in by a scammer pretending to represent the rock star.

Hundreds of people bought $20 tickets to the festival after the Neil Young announcement, but after the deception was revealed, Jacobmeyer offered refunds on request.

Speaking to The Gazette on Wednesday, Jacobmeyer said he has learned from the experience. He said he connected with someone who pretended to be Neil Young on Twitter but never spoke to Young or his supposed agent on the phone, just through Twitter, texts and emails.

“There were some questions about whether or not it was legitimate. I was thinking it was worth the risk,” Jacobmeyer said. “I guess I was being a little too gullible. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.”

He said he since has reported the matter to the FBI, which investigates cases of fraud. He also reached out to the person who was talking with him through Twitter to express his dismay over the scam, in which he was promised Young would play a 30-minute acoustic set at the festival in exchange for $2,000.

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“The supposed Neil Young tweeted me and said, ‘I could have charged you more,’ ” Jacobmeyer said. “I guess I just shouldn’t be so accepting. ... I’m probably not going to be as trusting in the future.”

The festival faced further challenges when Jacobmeyer said he received a letter from a lawyer informing him Woodstock is trademarked and he couldn’t use the name. Originally called “Woodstock Revisited,” the event since has been renamed the Marion Music & Art Festival.

Despite the issues, Jacobmeyer said he is optimistic about the festival, which is planned for 4 to 10 p.m. Aug. 18 at Lowe Park’s Klopfenstein Amphitheater, 4500 N. 10th St., Marion, with tickets on sale through Eventbrite. Along with Canned Heat, the lineup includes Zoot & Newt, the Boy Scout Hippies, Moving Target, the Beaker Brothers and Winterland. There also will be art and food vendors throughout the day.

“I think we’re on a roll,” Jacobmeyer said. “We still have about 600 tickets for the event sold.”

Jacobmeyer said the Marion festival was able to book Canned Heat because the band dropped out of the Woodstock 50 anniversary music festival, which was slated for Aug. 16 to 18 in New York. Organizers announced Wednesday that Woodstock 50 was officially canceled, blaming a series of “unforeseen setbacks.”

The cancellation was widely expected after a troubled five months in which organizers were turned down at two proposed sites in upstate New York, lost funding and saw headliners including guitarist Carlos Santana, rapper Jay-Z and pop star Miley Cyrus pull out.

When Jacobmeyer heard Canned Heat was among those dropping out, an Artisan’s Sanctuary supporter reached out to the band, Jacobmeyer said.

“We just caught them at the right time,” he said.

At least one of the band members who played Woodstock in 1969 — drummer Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra — will be performing in the Canned Heat lineup at the Marion festival.

Reuters news agency contributed to this report.

l Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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