Florida Georgia Line File Counter-Suit Against Country Explosion Festival
Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line are fighting back against a lawsuit that Utah's Country Explosion Festival filed against the duo last year. FGL have filed a counter-suit against the promoters of the festival, alleging breach of contract and fraud.
In August 2014, representatives of Country Explosion owner Darren Brady -- a bail bondsman in Utah -- sued FGL and their tour manager, Troy Johnson, for more than $15 million. Their grounds? Breach of contract and defamation, specifically pointing to Johnson and the band's manager, Seth England.
According to the festival's allegations, Johnson was given a $205,000 check to settle the balance on Florida Georgia Line's $450,000 appearance fee (half of which was paid in advance, per industry standards) but was asked to hold off on cashing it for three days, to allow for the check to clear. He agreed, then proceeded to cash the check the next day, and it bounced, leading him to breach the oral contract.
Their complaint also alleges that Johnson sent emails to contacts in the music industry, "making Country [Explosion] absolutely toxic among the artists and booking agencies in Nashville."
Now, the 'This Is How We Roll' hitmakers have counter-sued. They claim a "stop payment" had been ordered on the check, and the festival "continue[s] to refuse to pay FGL for its July 20 performance." They want the $205,000 originally promised from the gig, plus fees, interest and punitive damages.
In addition to the missing money, they allege that Toby Keith had to be paid with money collected at the beer tents and "various other sources."
So, why did the duo play at the festival, even with several red flags?
"They didn't want to disappoint the fans," says Florida Georgia Line's agent, Kevin Neal. "That's what it was all about for them."
The band's attorney, Chris Vlahos, tells Billboard, "This whole thing, $15 million for defamation and toxicity, is really nonsense. They've never served anybody, the suit is dead on the vine. It was nothing but a PR piece."
Also of note, both Brady and Country Explosion have filed for bankruptcy, and at least four other lawsuits have been filed against Country Explosion due to missed payments, according to KUTV in Salt Lake City. These include parking consultant fees, concessions vendor and the City of Tooele.
"We are cognizant of the fact that we're not the only affected people," says Vlahos. "There are vendors that haven't been paid all across Utah."
Despite the lawsuits and financial troubles, it appears that Country Explosion 2015 is still set for June 16-19.
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