When announced earlier this year, Rock Gone Wild was scheduled to take place at Freedom Park in Algona, Iowa, Aug. 20-23. Then in late July organizers announced a change in venue, moving the festival to the Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood, Iowa.
The lineup included George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Jackyl, Saxon, Dokken, Warrant, April Wine, Twisted Sister and Skid Row among the many acts scheduled to appear. What’s more, the festival also featured not one, but two former Runaways – Cherie Currie on Friday and Lita Ford on Saturday.
But alas, the sonic bombardment promised by Rock Gone Wild promoters was not meant to be.
A message posted late last week on the festival’s Web site announced the cancellation and blamed it on “the abrupt and unexpected loss of our venue.” According to the message, promoters claimed the casino was “refusing to honor its obligation.”
Here is where it gets interesting. The Des Moines Register reports the chief of operations for Diamond Jo Casino’s parent company – Jonathan Swain of Peninsula Gaming – as saying Rock Gone Wild promoter Donnie Frizzell “never had a signed agreement” with the company. Swain also told the Register that despite many verbal conversations about the event, Frizzell did not provide the proof of liability insurance necessary for staging the festival.
“They can blame us,” Swain told the Register. “They will sue us. But there is no contract.”
As of today, the festival’s Web site still hasn’t announced refund information. Instead, it asks ticket holders to fill out an online form listing the buyer’s e-mail, name, date the tickets were purchased, the last four digits of the credit card used and the type of card used. The form also states the user’s I.P. address will be stored with the submitted information.
Along with asking ticket holders to fill out and submit the online form, RockGoneWild.com also asks ticket holders to monitor the site for refund information, and promises that “all legal avenues are being pursued to permit payment of refunds and creditors of the Rock Gone Wild event.”
Not very encouraging, is it?
The Des Moines Register quotes a lawyer as saying Frizzell will “lose a ton of money” on Rock Gone Wild. Furthermore, there is speculation that Frizzell will have to successfully sue the casino before he can refund ticket purchases.
But Frizzell is facing more than angry fans wanting their money back. A spokesman for ABATE of Iowa, which owns the original venue slotted for Rock Gone Wild – Algona’s Freedom Park – said his group has a signed contract by a Frizzell associate that promises ABATE 12 grand for rent plus a percentage of revenue and ticket sales.
“At the last minute, they said the park wasn’t big enough, but we can fit 20,000 people in there comfortably,” ABATE’s Phil McCormick told the Register. “They owe us the money, but we’ll let our attorney sort it out. It’s turned into a big legal mess.”
Click here for the complete Des Moines Register article.
Click here for the Rock Gone Wild Web site.