Fearing a lawsuit from Ticketfly that could interfere with the 2018 edition of the popular Tortuga Festival in Florida, event organizers have preemptively brought suit against the ticketing subsidiary of Eventbrite in Federal court in Tennessee, according to several outlets.
The suit stems from an agreement between Ticketfly and Huka Productions, LLC – Tortuga’s promoter prior to the company’s implosion following the failed Pemberton Mustic Festival last summer in British Columbia. Signed in 2013 and later extended through September of 2019, the agreement granted Ticketfly ticketing exclusivity for the event, in exchange for a $1,000,000 signing bonus. A portion of that bonus, prorated, would need to be paid back to Ticketfly should the arrangement changed.
Eventbrite’s legal team sent the Tortuga business operators a letter reminding them of that agreement following news that ticketing would be done through Live Nation subsidiary FrontGateTickets (with the subject Re: Breach of Contract) in early November.
“While you previously gave Ticketfly the impression you intended to honor Huka’s Agreement to ticket this year’s TMF with Ticketfly, you have since indicated your intent to ticket TMF through Live Nation,” the letter reads. “In fact, it has become clear you misrepresented your intent to ticket TMF through Ticketfly in an effort to gain access to the historical event data to which Huka had access.”
Faced with that, Tortuga’s operators decided to take the matter to the court.
“Ticketfly is threatening to try to disrupt a major annual music festival based on the frivolous assertion that the owner of that festival, TMF2013, and its parent entity, Rock the Ocean, are contractually bound to sell tickets to the festival exclusively through Ticketfly,” the festival’s owner argued in its filing, according to The Tennessean. “Ticketfly has at all times known that TMF2013 and Huka are distinct companies…”
Tickets for the 2018 event are already on sale, with prices ranging from $229 for a 3-day general admission pass to $1,750 for a 3-day “Super VIP” option. The festival is scheduled to be headlined by Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Eric Church, and Snoop Dogg. It saw over 100,000 fans attend its 2017 edition.
“Because festival passes for the April 2018 iteration are already on sale, a speedy hearing and resolution of this controversy is necessary,” argue Tortuga’s lawyers.
According to Amplify, Rock the Ocean is already embroiled in a different lawsuit related to the implosion of Huka and former CEO AJ Niland. Niland was forced to sell his company’s stake in Tortuga to Rock the Ocean over the summer, but Tortuga founder/CEO Chris Stacey alleges that Niland “transferred millions of dollars of (Tortuga’s) money to itself and its affiliates.” He is seeking $4.1 million in damages.