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What Happened: Here's How Cherry Fund Shut Hundreds Out in the Cold

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Last weekend, Cherry Fund, a D.C. nonprofit run entirely by volunteers who raise money for LGBTQ+ mental health, HIV, and AIDS support kicked off its 25th anniversary weekend.

More than 1,000 people came to enjoy a four-day-long program of dance events. However, after a confluence of circumstances, some of the events were canceled while others shut hundreds of ticket holders outside in the cold.Now, Cherry Fund has announced that it will process refunds for dissatisfied customers and conduct an internal investigation into what went wrong.The Advocate obtained documents, interviewed witnesses, and consulted industry experts to understand what happened.A review of available evidence shows that a lack of communication, lack of planning, late permit applications, and, most notably, allegations of a conspiracy to defraud Cherry Fund each contributed to the weekend's outcome.Here's what we know:The main issue of the weekend, which led to hundreds of people being denied access to FLAWLESS at Howard Theatre, was capacity.Cherry Fund president Allen Sexton told The Advocate that Cherry Fund sold 1,240 tickets, “and not one more,” for FLAWLESS, one of the main dance parties.

Daniel Brindley, owner of Howard Theatre, confirmed to The Advocate that capacity of the theater is 1,200 people.Jon Weis, a talent buyer for Howard Theatre, appears to have indicated in an email to another production company, which The Advocate obtained, that Cherry Fund oversold the event."After a poor experience with an outside promoter overselling tickets by over double our legal capacity over the weekend, we are no longer allowing any outside ticketing to be sold indefinitely," Weis wrote Monday afternoon.

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