The ongoing Epizode saga looks to be deepening still with a dispute over ownership rights arising via the two channel in question (which going forward will be referred as Epizode.Official and Epizode.Asia for easiness) and a newly launched influencer campaign
But let’s start from the beginning.
Until earlier this week, like everyone, we were only aware of one entity behind Epizode and the whole communications always happened via the official Facebook channel named Epziode, while the ticket sale always took place via the epizode.com website.
Music-lovers and festival-goers never had to worry about legitimacy or ownership of the brand: even when some rumors of a pass in the ownership of the brand circulated just ahead of Epizode4. Almost nothing changed in how the operations were run, at least externally, and the festival completed another successful year with the promise of a bigger edition under construction. The festival was already desired by many people keen to return or visit for the first time at the festival.
Fast forward to Wednesday, 10th of June: a new channel (with a website named epizode.asia and FB named Epizode Festival) featuring a revamped version of the official Epizode graphics, dropped the bomb-news of a return of the much-beloved festival to Vietnamese Phu Quoc at the end of the year, roughly the same time-window the festival have always been held, followed by the announcement of the early bird ticket sales the following day, 11th June – circa 24h notice.
After some checks with organizers involved in past editions, we reported it the going ahead of the event and it was probably among the news that every raver would like to hear during this period without events. Right after, a direct response from the people managing the official page followed suit denouncing the announcement as fraud.
While the Epizode.Asia first announcement left some doubts on why the communication happened via different channels from the usual ones, the reply from Epizode.Official brought everyone to a state of total confusion.
As a result of this, a few more counterclaims in the form of social media posts have been issued by each party, both trying to offer some clarification on the issue and legitimising their version.
The first, issued by Epizode.Asia, claim that their company are the original owner and founders of the Epizode brand, with full rights to use the intellectual property. In doing so, they provided a list of contacts on their website, including company details (two from Russia, one from Vietnam), and an offer for media to see official documents on request. Below the full statement:
Trommel reviewed the document openly offered to the media, but we cannot comment on it due to not having knowledge of any paper trail or consistent background to support it.
In a bid to clarify their point of view further the Epizode.Official Facebook page has issued the following status update, claiming to be the legal operating owners and labeling Epizode.Asia as previous management. In their statement, they also offered the chance to see the original documents and offered an insight into the reason why they have not yet announced the dates for the new festival edition (in short, because of uncertainty around the pandemic situation).
The whole situation at this point is rather confusing as both parties are laying claim to the event in its entirety, with a spiral of reciprocal accusation, at the moment still not supported by many or clear pieces of evidence. Also, each side is stating that legal proceedings are ongoing.
What raises even more question marks is the direct correspondence from the venue Sunset Sanato Beach, posted on an Epizode-related FB group, where they confirm that the now official social media channels are the one that belongs to Epizode.Asia, and therefore the newly launched ones.
In order to promote their upcoming event and offer a potential full clarification of their position as rightful brand owners, Epizode.Asia launched a social media campaign that involve festival partners, offshoot promoters, and artists. The ‘I STAND WITH THE REAL EPIZODE’ campaign has already been supported by many of the crews, artists and industry minds linked to the festival as well as an outpouring of support from the likes of David G Tronic and his Vatos Locos crew, Pola, CYRK, Amnesia Ibiza, Pyramid Ibiza, Toi Toi Musik, several promoters and agents as well as their hottest resident Ricardo Villalobos.
While writing this editorial we stress the fact that Trommel does not have any insider information and is not taking any side in this dispute or advising anyone to do so. Our articles are purely designed to inform and help make sense of the situation of which many music heads are following closely. At this point, aside from various rumors and hearsay, there is no further information, but rest assured we will keep you informed once more concrete details are made available.