Balling for Uvalde World Weekend festival losing support

The event is still schedule for February 4th and 5th in 2023.

The highly promoted festival weekend seems to be showing further cracks in its foundation.

UVALDE, Texas – More cracks are beginning to show in the Balling for Uvalde World Weekend event as the venue says they won’t host the festival.

Last week, KSAT reported that the Robb Elementary families had cut their ties with event founder Nathan Baller.

Baller, whose legal last name is Kouamou, said last week the event will be happening at the Uvalde County Fairplex.

“This is a two-day weekend taking place at the Fairplex,” Baller said on Nov. 9.

Now, the director of the Fairplex is disputing that.

“The Uvalde County Fairplex has denied Mr. Kouamou’s request for use of venue space,” stated Wendy Speer, director of the Uvalde County Fairplex.

The statement seemed to surprise Baller on Tuesday.

“We had all of the deposits and all of the forms sign everything. I don’t see why, you know, now, and it will be brought up, but I have to follow up to see what’s going on there,” Baller said.

KSAT 12 asked for copies of that paperwork, and as of this publication, we have not received it.

Despite the uncertainty in the venue, Baller says they’ve sold 4,500 tickets. He said that money is sitting in the Baller Academy bank account as he tries to solidify a relationship with another nonprofit after the Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department cut ties.

“Once I get to Uvalde, and I have a couple of individuals that are looking to be a part of, it’s all about us really choosing the right individual to handle that,” Baller said.

When Baller was asked about the victims’ families issuing a cease and desist and terminating their contracts with him, he claims the contracts never existed.

“It says Baller Academy,” reporter Leigh Waldman said, showing a copy of the contract.

“Where the contract is concerned, I think it will be fair for you and I, Leigh, once you get a copy of a contract that I’ve signed or parties have signed, that we can really have a discussion,” Baller said.

Despite several agencies and the majority of the 21 families cutting ties, Baller insists the event is still happening.

“I can be out here with you and just go and back and forth, but the world is coming to Uvalde on February 4th and 5th,” Baller said.

Last week, the City of Uvalde issued the following statement regarding its relationship with Baller:

“The City of Uvalde continues to support the victims and the families of the Rob School Tragedy. It is the City’s understanding that the victims and their families have cut ties with Nathan Baller. Consequently, the City will no longer entertain Mr. Baller’s efforts. In the event Mr.Baller presents a proposal through the Uvalde Forever Fund that is properly vetted, the City will support any such venture.”

KSAT 12 News reached out to the celebrities listed on the Balling for Uvalde website for confirmation that they’re attending the event, so far only one has responded back confirming.

Find more Uvalde coverage from KSAT here


About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.