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Legal discord over music festival

By   /   Wednesday, August 26th, 2009  /   Comments Off on Legal discord over music festival

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[Editor’s note: See correction below.]

A battle of the band bookers is breaking out in Santa Barbara.

The organizers of the West Beach Music & Arts Festival face a civil lawsuit from another concert organizer who demands nearly $500,000. Jackie Kane also alleges that the West Beach organizers froze her out of her share of ticket sales from the 2008 festival and broke a contract to let her take part in the 2009 festival.

But Jeremy Pemberton, one of the West Beach organizers and a defendant in the suit, told the Business Times in an interview that he believes those allegations have no merit and that Twiin Productions, his company, plans to file claims of its own.

Santa Barbara-based Kane Productions, headed by Kane, sued festival organizers Joshua and Jeremy Pemberton and Twiin in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Aug. 24.

The lawsuit comes just a few weeks before the West Beach festival’s slated run from Sept. 18 to Sept. 20. Feature acts include Ben Harper and Relentless7 and The Bravery. The festival won’t be affected by the lawsuit, Pemberton said.

Kane claims in her complaint that after the festival lost money in its inaugural run in 2007, the Pemberton brothers approached Kane about an online ticketing system, which she helped supply in exchange for 10 percent of ticket sales. The complaint also alleges that the Pembertons agreed not to compete against Kane in bringing artists on for the festival and that the Permbertons agreed to let Kane participate in booking the 2009 festival.

Kane also alleges that the Pembertons told her the 2008 festival turned in a loss when it instead made a profit in an effort to avoid paying her. She also claims the brothers went around her to book acts for the 2009 festival.

“Kane seeks damages in an amount approximating $436,750, plus legal fees approximating $35,000, based on her share of lost revenues from ticketing fees, a breach of the engagement agreement between the parties that guaranteed her a right to participate in the 2009 offering of the West Beach Music Festival, and a violation of the non-compete agreement,” the complaint alleges.

Jeremy Pemberton said his legal team is preparing to fire back.

“Our attorney is drafting a detailed response to every complaint which will be filed and available for the public on [Aug. 28],” he said. “We also plan to file our own set of complaints.”

Pemberton said the 2009 event hasn’t skipped a beat.

“Sales are going great for the festival,” Pemberton said.

Correction: The story as originally posted contained incorrect information on one aspect of the lawsuit related to the 2008 West Beach Festival. Kane alleged she was entitled to 50 percent of ticket sales from the 2008 event and 10 percent of the net profit.

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