Schaumburg 'Freedom' fest headlined by Toby Keith abruptly canceled

  • Country music recording artist Toby Keith performs on NBC's Today show at Rockefeller Plaza on Friday, July 5, 2019, in New York.

    Country music recording artist Toby Keith performs on NBC's Today show at Rockefeller Plaza on Friday, July 5, 2019, in New York. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/7/2019 10:17 PM

The Freedom and Dignity Festival headlined by country music star Toby Keith, set to take place Saturday at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg, was canceled abruptly by its organizers Wednesday.

The concert, also scheduled to feature Clay Walker, Colt Ford and Craig Campbell, was organized as a benefit for Café Liberty, a Wheaton-based nonprofit that provides free culinary job training and placement for Chicago-area veterans in need, and The Dan Gibbons Foundation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The foundation terminated its agreement with concert promoters Imagn Media & Events on Monday, according to a statement it released Wednesday.

"Over the past week, it became clear that no one would see the music festival as planned," the statement reads. "Problems that arose led to significant concerns that those materially supporting the event would not be compensated and that (Imagn) Events was unable to deliver on its obligations to provide an enjoyable event for all attendees and performers."

Imagn issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon responding to the cancellation.

"The Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot seriously and irreversibly damaged our reputation, finances, and business contacts all because they have failed to honor their agreement, failed to make payments when required, and put themselves first before others," the statement reads. "As a result we have no other choice but to exercise any and all rights available under the law and expect to be doing so in the very near future."

A representative for the promoter said ticketholders should email customerservice@imagnevents.com regarding refunds.

The foundation's statement says it and the Schaumburg Boomers worked tirelessly in the 24 hours before the cancellation in an effort to salvage the concert. Both were willing to incur losses to prevent a cancellation.

"However, the operational hurdles remaining and the limits facing the foundation as a result of loans made to Imagn to allow the booking of the performers, prevented the foundation from saving the event despite our very best efforts and cooperation from the Boomers," the statement reads.

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Gibbons did not respond to a call seeking further comment.

In a separate statement, the Boomers said the team is "shocked with the cancellation."

"We have been preparing for this event for months and were ready to go," said Brian Lyter, president of Boomers owner Salvi Sports. "The cancellation is extremely disappointing to the Boomers organization, our vendors and service providers, our staff and most especially, the Schaumburg community and the veterans that would have benefitted from this event."

As of early Wednesday evening, there was no mention of the event's cancellation on Keith's official website, Facebook page or Twitter account.

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