Kanrocksas cancellation triggers lawsuit

07/25/2013 11:02 AM

07/25/2013 9:28 PM

This summer’s canceled Kanrocksas Music Festival has landed its co-founder in court and, according to a lawsuit, destroyed the business of its Lawrence-based booking agent and promoter.

Cancellation of the late June concert “effectively destroyed” Mammoth Inc.’s business and ruined its “reputation and ability to do business in the music industry,” Mammoth said in the lawsuit.

Mammoth is suing Kanrocksas co-founder William J. Brandmeyer and MMF LLC in Wyandotte County District Court for unspecified damages.

“They didn’t pay the artists’ cancellation fees, and in this industry that’s what you do,” said Mammoth’s Josh Hunt. “We would have never helped them book this event if we knew they weren’t going to pay the bands.”

The lawsuit said that Mammoth had lost work on “several events” and that merchants, radio stations and agents had changed the terms under which they would do business with Mammoth. They have increased the amount of deposits required to secure an act, required deposits be made earlier, required quicker payment, raised prices and “favored others over Mammoth.”

Brandmeyer could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Brandmeyer and Mammoth had worked together to put on the first Kanrocksas at Kansas Speedway in 2011. The event drew nearly 50,000 over two days with acts such as Eminem and Muse.

Though critically successful, the festival was “a substantial financial failure,” the suit said, adding that Brandmeyer covered the losses and paid the artists as planned.

Hopes for a 2012 Kanrocksas fell through because of work at the speedway, but the two renewed the festival this year for another Kansas Speedway event set for June 29 and 30.

Instead, the suit said, Brandmeyer canceled without consulting Mammoth and without giving it time to “do anything to salvage the festival or its relationships” with artists’ agents.

The lawsuit said both sides kept the cancellation quiet over the Memorial Day weekend, during which Mammoth sought assurances Brandmeyer would make good on promises made to the performers.

News of the cancellation produced a flood of angry calls to Mammoth, and it “begged” Brandmeyer to honor commitments he had made before the cancellation, according to the suit.

Instead, it said, Brandmeyer notified some of the musical artists they would be paid nothing, arguing that they had not signed the written agreements he had signed.

Brandmeyer’s cancellation of the festival and notice to performers “exposes Mammoth to industry and public hatred, contempt or ridicule,” the lawsuit said.

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