In April, New Jersey music festival Bamboozle was abruptly canceled about a week before it was set to return from May 5-7 at at Bader Field in Atlantic City. Among the numerous issues plaguing the fest, one was that they couldn’t get permits from Atlantic City after organizers missed their deadline to submit paperwork. Now, according to local reports, a lawsuit has been filed against the fest and promoter John D’Esposito.
According to NJ.com, music exec and lead vocalist of E.Town Concrete (who were on the lineup) Anthony Martini loaned D’Esposito and the festival $500,000 at 20% interest, which Martini alleges has not been repaid by the deadline specified in their contract.
Speaking to NJ Advance Media, Martini said he met D’Esposito 20 years ago and had a “friendly relationship” with him. “I knew the previous Bamboozles had a successful run and he called to see if I could help him as he was relaunching,” he said. He also told NJ Advance Media that one of the ways he assisted was by “helping to smooth some over of [D’Esposito’s] not-so-great relationships” with people in the industry, though he didn’t specify any names.
Court documents reveal that Martini wired between $80,000 and $150,000 to four talent agencies and entertainment companies in November 2022, plus $37,500 directly to D’Espostio. “Then I opened my social media one day to see it was canceled,” Martini says. “I loaned the money. He said he would pay me back. He’s obviously in a not-so-great space, but I shouldn’t be screwed over for trying to help him out.”
Martini is seeking $630,000 in the lawsuit, plus “interest, costs, and attorney’s fees.”
If Martini’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you might recognize him as the former artist manager who helped develop artists such as Lil Dicky and MadeinTYO. He was also CEO of Royalty Exchange from 2021 until early 2022. In August of last year, he distanced himself from the Augmented Reality rapper FN Meka, with whom Capitol Records “severed ties” last August after clips of the project using the N-word and propagating racial stereotypes went viral.
Martini had partnered with FN Meka’s designer, Brandon Le, in 2020 after his daughter showed him Meka’s Instagram profile. Together, Martini and Le launched the company Factory New, with the intention of launching similar virtual artists.