AEG and Goldenvoice have bought out FYF Fest founder Sean Carlson's stake in the festival and are planning to continue the event in 2018, Billboard has learned. The move comes following a series of sexual misconduct allegations against Carlson that surfaced in November.
Billboard has learned that after quietly distancing itself from Carlson in November, AEG triggered a buyout clause in Goldenvoice's six-year-old agreement with Carlson and purchased his 50 percent stake in the festival. The multi-day event is now being booked by Goldenvoice's Jennifer Yacoubian, who has worked at Goldenvoice since 2009 and books the Shrine Auditorium, the company's Splash House series in Palm Springs and the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. FYF co-producer Dave Peterson is also staying on and will continue to work on the event.
In November, just as the #MeToo movement was picking up steam following a series of allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, four women stepped forward and accused Carlson of sexual misconduct between 2010 and 2015. Carlson founded FYF (formerly known as Fuck Yeah Fest) in 2004 when he was 18.
A number of women spoke to Spin about the allegations, including former freelance music photographer Natasha Ryan, who said she met Carlson at a late night VIP after-party where she and others got into a hot tub.
"This guy kept coming up to me and trying to take my bra off and I had to keep batting him away," she said. After repeated attempts, Carlson allegedly approached her and "started grabbing me and trying to kiss me" while attempting to pull her into the bathroom to make out. Another woman accused Carlson of barging in on her in a bathroom at a party and demanding oral sex, later pinning her down on a couch and trying to make out with her. The four accounts told to Spin allege a pattern of behavior that included aggression, intoxication, barging in on women in the bathroom and persistently trying to kiss women, even after he had been told to stop.
Spin also spoke to a man who described Carlson’s conduct with women as an “open secret” in the L.A. music scene and said, “I think that most of the women who work in the industry are just terrified of coming forward and giving their names and being blacklisted."
Carlson later admitted some of the incidents were true, while others "contain serious misstatements and omissions." He also said, "I acted inappropriately and shamefully, and deeply regret my actions."
Created by Carlson in 2004, FYF Fest has grown from a small festival staged at The Echo in L.A. to a large multiday event. Ut first moved to L.A. State Historic Park in 2009 and then Exposition Park near USC and the L.A. Memorial Coliseum in 2014. While the festival began with mostly independent and unsigned bands, the 2017 event included performances by Missy Elliott, Björk, Frank Ocean, A Tribe Called Quest, Nine Inch Nails and Iggy Pop.