Wednesday 26 February 2014, 11:56 | By Chris Cooke
AEG suffers knock back in Electric Forest battle
Live giant AEG Live has received a knock-back in a legal battle with the owners of the site of the American music festival Electric Forest, in which the live giant now has an interest after buying the event’s co-promoter Madison House Presents earlier this month.
As previously reported, this dispute centres on a 20 year lease that Madison House Presents secured to host its annual festival at a resort in Oceana County. That agreement was with a company called Progressive Resorts which experienced financial problems last year basically resulting in ownership of the site being transferred to two new companies, Antler Bar Amusements and Double JJ PropCo, which now claim that the change in ownership renders the two decade lease void.
For their part, AEG and Madison House Presents argue that the new owners of the festival site bought Progressive Resort’s liabilities, and therefore the lease agreement should stand. The two parties also argue that they were not made aware that the change in ownership finalised last November would affect their lease until late January, by which time the 2014 edition of Electric Forest was already in production.
Of course, what makes this story all the more interesting is that it’s been widely reported that SFX, another significant player in the US live space, has an interest in one of the two companies that now owns the Electric Forest site. And the other promoter of the festival, Live Nation ally Insomniac Events, has previously said: “[This dispute] sounds like a case of sour grapes – Madison House chose AEG as their partner over SFX, and now SFX is seeking to punish us”.
Since becoming involved in the squabble, AEG has filed a motion for intervention (allowing it to be directly involved in the case as a plaintiff), a temporary restraining order against Antler Bar Amusements and Double JJ PropCo, and a preliminary injunction in favour of the live giant and its business partners in Electric Forest. But Judge Terrence R Thomas in the Oceana County Court denied the first of those requests this week.
Not that that means this legal squabble is over by any means, and much confusion remains about the case, and the nature of the lease AEG and Madison House Presents are trying to enforce. Meanwhile the two companies insist that, whatever happens, this year’s Electric Forest festival in June will go ahead.