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Digging Deeper: Rock Gone Wild Unfolds (Part 2)

Bring Back Glam! continues to investigate the unraveling of Rock Gone Wild, the multi-day festival originally scheduled for August 20-23 in Northwood, Iowa. The festival was canceled Friday with this statement posted online:

Rock Gone Wild, an Iowa based LLC was informed by Diamond Jo Casino, LLC legal counsel on August 5, 2009, that the event cannot take place anywhere on the licensed premises. Due to Diamond Jo Casino, LLC refusing to honor its obligation to provide the venue, we are unable to produce the event as planned. This matter has been referred to legal counsel.

The phrase “...the event cannot take place anywhere on the license premises” left ticketholders scrambling and confused. Was the event really canceled? Most presumed yes. As of this writing, no other official statement has been issued by RGW management.

An online report yesterday in the Globe Gazette (out of Mason City, IA) quotes Ted Sporer, legal counsel for Rock Gone Wild. In the article, he states “...We would very much like to save the concert. At this point, I don’t know if that’s feasible. There will be information on that in the very near future.”

I contacted both Nathalie Faghihi (festival manager) and Donnie Frizzell (promoter) for an interview. Mr. Frizzell referred me to Mr. Sporer. Ms. Faghihi did not respond. Mr. Sporer began representing Rock Gone Wild LLC Thursday, one day before the event was canceled.

The very first question I had for Mr. Sporer regarded the Globe Gazette piece and the possibility of the festival happening after all. “Over the weekend...we were still attempting to revive the event,” explains Sporer. “[It] doesn’t look very likely we will bring it least not this year.”

When I followed up about the possibility of a Rock Gone Wild festival during 2010, the attorney stated that “he didn’t want to commit his clients.”

But how did it all fall apart? Rock Gone Wild was supposed to kick off next week. Some have speculated about the lack of a contract with the Diamond Jo Casino. “There was an exchange of emails,” Sporer assures me. When I inquired about the legality of even a verbal agreement, the attorney for Rock Gone Wild explained “...Even a verbal agreement is sufficient to bind an event.”

Bring Back Glam! contacted a third party for legal advice. The source, an attorney speaking on the condition of anonymity, agrees with Sporer – to a point. “A verbal contract can be binding, and as such, an agreement worked out via email could also be binding,” explains my source. “It in no way is a slam dunk win.” My source then proceeded to give me a class in Contracts 101. I soon learned contracts are made of basically six parts: Offer, Acceptance, Meeting of the Minds/mutuality of Obligation, Legal Purpose, Consideration and Competent Parties. My source concludes his lesson by explaining there is no requirement that a contract be in writing.

“[This is] no scam,” asserts Mr. Sporer. “I assure you there will be ample litigation.” Litigation because Rock Gone Wild plans to bring suit against Diamond Jo Casino. Exact terms of the suit were not disclosed, but Mr. Sporer told me the lawsuit will be filed “within the next seven to ten days.” He also promises Bring Back Glam! receive a copy of the legal documents after the filing. Other online news outlets cite possible problems with Diamond Jo and the land agreement. Calls placed with Diamond Jo Casino regarding the potential lawsuit were not returned.

While legal papers are drawn up, fans still wait for their refunds. “I can’t speak to information at this point regarding refunds,” says Sporer. The attorney promises to issue an official statement regarding refunds when all information is gathered.

“My clients are in shock,” Sporer admits. “I’ve never had a situation where anyone pulled out at this late notice on such a big event. They are up to their ears in proverbial alligators. This is a big’s a terrible time.”

Twisted Sister, Saving Abel, Candlebox, Lita Ford, Kix, Puddle of Mudd and many more were scheduled to play Rock Gone Wild.

Even more tomorrow.

Reader Comments (18)

I don't know of any reputable promoter that would adhere to a festival of any kind without signing a contract, nor do I know of any venue that would proceed without a signed contract either (one word for this being, liability). I understand Mr. Sporer has been hired to defend his clients, RGW, and he'll do just that but....To me, In My Opinion, it appears as if the promoters were lacking in ticket sales, needed to move to a smaller venue, scrambled at the last minute, acted poorly and irresponsibly and basically ran out of money to make the festival happen. Now everyone's pointing the finger at everyone else. The Dirt is gettin' good, however after all is said and done, I just hope ticket holders get full refunds.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkari
This makes no sense:

“My clients are in shock,” Sporer admits. “I’ve never had a situation where anyone pulled out at this late notice on such a big event. They are up to their ears in proverbial alligators. This is a big’s a terrible time.”

The promoters are the ones who created this situation by switching the event at the last minute with no legal contract! I agree, these fools were running out of money and probably had even less sense than money.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaddi
A Verbal Contract ... I've seen this episode before:

Judge: Did you have a contract?

RGW: We had a verbal agreement..

Judge: Diamond Jo's.. is this correct?

Diamond Jo's Casino: NO your honor, we never reached an agreement.. the Gaming Commission requires that all event contracts be in writing.

Judge:.. this is why you get everything in writing.

Donnie Frizzel has been involved in this type of debacle before. (1999)

Those involved in RGW will be doing good to stay out of prison.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLee
I think that RGW has just found someone to take the fall for them. There have been problems with this festival from the start, and many speculated it would never happen. It is very convenient that they planned to move it to Diamond Jo's at the last minute, and are now blaming that venue for the whole debacle. Seriously.. who do they think they are fooling?
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
The agreement was not verbal, it was in writing via e-mail. I have seen it. And, it came from the same person that previously told Allyson there was no such agreement. So, someone else is lying here.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCommish
Discussions leading up to a contract do not equal a contract. Emails back and forth discussing terms will probably not be viewed by a judge as a contract.

Hell, if emails were the substantial equivilent of a contract, then Nat and I had a contract wherein she obligated herself to provide Judas Priest and Whitesnake as entertainer at the festival, and she breached our contract. I have it in email from her!
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian
I email information to my clients all the time in hammering out details... Once we've got all the details including cost, etc. I send a proposal - a CONTRACT to my client. Once I receive the authorization (READ: SIGNED CONTRACT) we then move forward. I've had clients that have asked when they can expect the project completed after we've emailed back and forth and my response is "As soon as we have a signed contract".

Never in my life has a "verbal agreement" including talking via email constituted a signed contract. If there was not a signed contract by both parties then how can RGW claim that Diamond Jo breached their contract?
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
The issue here is that the contract did not contain anything that was verbally agreed to in the e-mail, which is where the incentive for RGW to move from Algona had come from. I agree, they should have had a signed agreement before pulling the plug from ABATE. However, information in an e-mail, if mutually agreed upon is admissable as a contract. Right or wrong, there will be 2 sides to the story. I am not defending either one, but the stuff coming from the casino is total BS.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercommish
Commish, no offense man, but everything coming from anywhere concerning RGW seems to total BS. No one wants to tell the truth. Is it not true that they actual fest was supposed to take place in a field of some guy that no one ever talked to???? This whole situation keeps getting stranger and stranger. Hell I always thought that Ally and Nat were the best of friends, I just don't know what to think anymore. I doubt we will ever know the whole truth about what happened here, but a couple of things seem to come from everyone involved. First, this fest was in trouble way before anything happened with Diamond Jo's and second, alot of people are out a alot of money. My heart really goes out to anyone that lost money on this deal. It just sucks!
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterokstpat
Pat, it's not for me to say who Allyson's friends are ( except for counting myself in ), but, while Allyson did work for RGW for some time, a long time ago, you should not mistake her professionalism in not talking about why she left, for a sign of deep friendship between the two
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I'm willing to bet that not all terms were discussed over email and, since there was no comprehensive, written contract, the casino will have plenty of arguments for non-performance under the "email agreement".

And come on, it's not like this entire situation is leaving Nat and Donnie looking like savy business people. You're giving them too much credit. They were lying about line-up, begging people for money, ripping off the pay to play bands (not saying that the amount was too much, but SEX Department bargined for an hour on the main stage at a peak time, and got downgraded to a half hour on a side stage at noon), and Nat then proceeded to insult the ticket buyers for the event and seems offended that we want our money back. With this level of competence, you expect us to believe that the details of a short-term land lease were adqueately worked out via email. COME ON....
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian
Christian, even though I don't know Allyson personally I have never doubted her professionalism. I guess I really never thought things would end this poorly for everyone. It has become a cluster and no one knows how or why it happened. I applaud Allyson for trying to dig into it and report it.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterokstpat
Hey Pat, I didn't mean to imply you were insulting Allyson's professionalism, but I thought it was worth clarifying, for everyone who reads this board, that Allyson did indeed stop working for RGW a LONG time ago, and if anyone missed it, it's because she was professional about it.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
These people bit off more than they could chew and are too brass to admit it. The money ran out plain and simple. They couldn't make their payments to Abate and scrambled to try to find a new venue. Hoping they could run on the casinos insurance and liquor liscense. Their demands on the casino must have made the people at diamond jos pull any offer of support off the table and left them high and dry. This is one of the biggest scams i have seen in quite some time and the sad thing is i bought tickets to this total piece of garbage.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBurned
Nat had a lot of ppl drinking her kool aid and believing a lot of crap, the main piece being that she knew what she was doing. PLEASE! Anyone could see the trainwreck coming months ago. It's all very sad and unfortunate for a lot of ppl out there.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Thanks for sharing this.
Do you know why the event location was changed at the last minute in the first place? It seems very strange to plan something for a year and only at the last moment realize that there was some problem with the venue.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenternirVrana
Hey Ally,
How about an update on the lawsuit between RGW and Casino Jo's?
Some of us out some cash want to make sure this doesn't just go away easily. I, for one, wanna see some justice.
November 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScooby Crue
Thanks for share this. Keep it up.
October 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermemorama

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