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Nerd-Con controversy

No cred given to co-creator of annual gathering of freaks and geeks

Bridal-show planner Joel Jones wanted to host an event for local geeks who didn’t make it to Comic-Con. His first one-day Nerd-Con mixed fantasy nerd culture with live bands and drew 3000 to the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, in August 2015. Veteran local promoter Joe Troutman was brought in to hire the bands, including Green Jello and local band Random Gibberish.

Video

Some of DJ Galactic Ray's handiwork

Jones’s second Nerd-Con, last year, also in August at Escondido’s Center for the Arts, expanded to three days and drew over 7000 freaks and geeks, according to promoter Troutman and the manager of DJ Galactic Ray who performed all three days.

The third annual Nerd-Con didn’t happen last month and won’t be happening anytime soon.

“I have a collection of four names of performers besides myself who got cheated [by Jones],” says Rob Estrada, manager of DJ Galactic Ray. “We gave him a discounted fee of $500 for all three days. He kept promising [payment], then he eventually blew me off and told me good luck on trying to collect, that there would be no way we could collect.”

Random Gibberish

Troutman says that Jones also owes the Center for the Arts more than $40,000 to rent out “almost the entire campus,” including concert facilities, the convention center, and other rooms.

“That’s run by the community,” says Estrada. “Maybe that’s why this was all swept under the rug, because it was so embarrassing for them.... I contacted the DA’s office but I never heard back from them.”

Troutman, meanwhile, says he had to pay over $1500 out of his pocket to talent and additional staff he brought onboard. “I took care of a lot of people. Some people refused payment because they knew it wasn’t my fault.” Troutman says the worst part was knowing that the event “absolutely” was profitable.

Local geek-rockers Random Gibberish played both Escondido Nerd-Cons. Frontman Matt Sernaker says he has been unsuccessfully contacting Jones monthly for his band’s year-old debt. He also agrees someone should restart a similar event. “We are playing one in November in Palm Springs.”

Place

California Center for the Arts, Escondido

340 N. Escondido Boulevard, Escondido

Center for the Arts executive director Jerry Van Leeuwen confirmed that Jones does in fact owe the center more than $40,000.

A call to Jones on September 4 asking him about widespread unhappiness with him as promoter led to him saying, “I never heard anything about that.” Second question: “You never heard about bands not getting paid or rent not getting paid?” to which Jones responded, “I’ll have to put you in touch with the rest of the LLC. If you could call back tomorrow that would be great [click].” Jones did not answer the LLC question the second day.

Troutman claims Jones’s business, 4 Nerds by Nerds, LLC, “is now just Joel and his girlfriend.”

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DJ Galactic Ray was set to play at a discounted rate.
DJ Galactic Ray was set to play at a discounted rate.

Bridal-show planner Joel Jones wanted to host an event for local geeks who didn’t make it to Comic-Con. His first one-day Nerd-Con mixed fantasy nerd culture with live bands and drew 3000 to the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, in August 2015. Veteran local promoter Joe Troutman was brought in to hire the bands, including Green Jello and local band Random Gibberish.

Video

Some of DJ Galactic Ray's handiwork

Jones’s second Nerd-Con, last year, also in August at Escondido’s Center for the Arts, expanded to three days and drew over 7000 freaks and geeks, according to promoter Troutman and the manager of DJ Galactic Ray who performed all three days.

The third annual Nerd-Con didn’t happen last month and won’t be happening anytime soon.

“I have a collection of four names of performers besides myself who got cheated [by Jones],” says Rob Estrada, manager of DJ Galactic Ray. “We gave him a discounted fee of $500 for all three days. He kept promising [payment], then he eventually blew me off and told me good luck on trying to collect, that there would be no way we could collect.”

Random Gibberish

Troutman says that Jones also owes the Center for the Arts more than $40,000 to rent out “almost the entire campus,” including concert facilities, the convention center, and other rooms.

“That’s run by the community,” says Estrada. “Maybe that’s why this was all swept under the rug, because it was so embarrassing for them.... I contacted the DA’s office but I never heard back from them.”

Troutman, meanwhile, says he had to pay over $1500 out of his pocket to talent and additional staff he brought onboard. “I took care of a lot of people. Some people refused payment because they knew it wasn’t my fault.” Troutman says the worst part was knowing that the event “absolutely” was profitable.

Local geek-rockers Random Gibberish played both Escondido Nerd-Cons. Frontman Matt Sernaker says he has been unsuccessfully contacting Jones monthly for his band’s year-old debt. He also agrees someone should restart a similar event. “We are playing one in November in Palm Springs.”

Place

California Center for the Arts, Escondido

340 N. Escondido Boulevard, Escondido

Center for the Arts executive director Jerry Van Leeuwen confirmed that Jones does in fact owe the center more than $40,000.

A call to Jones on September 4 asking him about widespread unhappiness with him as promoter led to him saying, “I never heard anything about that.” Second question: “You never heard about bands not getting paid or rent not getting paid?” to which Jones responded, “I’ll have to put you in touch with the rest of the LLC. If you could call back tomorrow that would be great [click].” Jones did not answer the LLC question the second day.

Troutman claims Jones’s business, 4 Nerds by Nerds, LLC, “is now just Joel and his girlfriend.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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