Aniya Cozy was looking forward to a rare night out. The single mother of two teenagers wanted to celebrate her 39th birthday with famed hip-hop pioneers Cypress Hill, Naughty by Nature, Warren G and a few friends in La Crosse.
"This was our era," Cozy said.
She paid $100 for a VIP pass to the Hip Hop 2011 Monsters of Hip Hop Show, scheduled for Aug. 20 at the South Side Oktoberfest Grounds.
But if she wants to see Cypress Hill, she'll have to fly to Los Angeles.
The show's local promoters say they have been scammed by a third-party booking agent who fraudulently promised the bands' appearances.
The artists aren't coming, but organizers say they're trying to reschedule.
The top posting on the official Cypress Hill website calls the La Crosse show a "fraud."
Naughty by Nature won't be here either. They're playing in Japan. Warren G's summer tour ends later this month, then he's headed for Europe.
A.J. Peterson and Michael Foster say they and other local promoters were helping to organize the show and have since lost contact with the supposed booking agent.
Tickets were sold at area outlets as well as online for $32.50 for general admission or $100 for a VIP pass that included the chance to meet the musicians.
That's what Cozy thought she was getting. She hadn't been to a concert since shortly after high school when she saw Salt-n-Pepa at Milwaukee's Summerfest. Her birthday is Aug. 19, the day before the scheduled show.
"I was pretty excited," Cozy said.
Peterson and Foster aren't sure how many tickets were sold but quit selling them as soon as they found out Cypress Hill wouldn't perform. The event's Facebook page had 836 people say they were attending as of Thursday evening.
Peterson said they're waiting to hear back today about rescheduling Cypress Hill for a Sept. 17 date. If so, all tickets would be honored. If not, refunds will be issued.
"We were very excited," Foster said. "We're still hopeful."
The organizers said they didn't send any money to the third-party promoter — they were supposed to make a payment the day they realized Cypress Hill was playing in L.A.
"It could've been a lot worse," Foster said. "It's definitely a lesson learned."
The event was also supposed to include a hip-hop car show and freestyle battle.
Peterson and Foster say they've been scrambling to reschedule but want to reassure people that their intentions were to put on a day of music.
"I've been in the La Crosse area too long. I work in the area. My kids go to school here," Foster said. "There's no way we were trying to defraud anyone."
It's still a disappointment for Cozy and others who'd hoped to hear "Insane in the Brain," "O.P.P." and all the other hip-hop hits of the era.
"I'll have a good birthday regardless," Cozy said. "I'll figure something out."