Florida Georgia Line filed a breach of contract suit against the organizers of the Country Explosion music festival. The band is suing for non-payment, claiming the festival owes them $205,000 dollars. Florida Georgia Line headlined the 2014 Country Explosion Festival along with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith. The band was supposed to be paid $450,000 to headline the show, and half of that was to be paid in advance. The festival contract was executed by Country Explosion agent, Jason Stark.
The festival had a pretty large budget of two million, but a number of sources told Billboard magazine that the festival was experiencing financial issues by the third day of the event. Sources reported that one of the headliners, Toby Keith, had to receive payment with the money that was collected from the beer tents. The festival probably should have opted to cancel the remaining date of the event, but the organizers decided to continue. Another festival organizer, Kevin Neal, said they didn’t cancel the event because they didn’t want to disappoint the fans.
Florida Georgia stated in their lawsuit that the Country Explosion festival owner, Darren Brady, personally guaranteed the band would receive their payment. Brady paid the band $20,000 cash, and he wrote the Florida Georgia Line members a check for $205,000. The $205,000 check bounced two days later, but Brady promised the band he would correct the financial issue. To date, Florida Georgia Line has never been compensated for their July 20th performance at the festival.
In a strange turn of events, Brady filed a $15 million defamation lawsuit against Florida Georgia Line. Brady claims the band was instructed not to deposit the $205,000 check until July 23rd, but the band deposited the check on July 2nd. The band’s attorney, Chris Vlahos, said Brady’s lawsuit is nonsense. “They’ve never served anybody, the lawsuit is dead on the vine. It was nothing but a PR piece,” Vlahos told Billboard magazine.
As of today, Brady and the Country Explosion Festival has filed for bankruptcy protection. Florida Georgia Line’s lawsuit is seeking $205,000 as well as fees for punitive damages. Four more country artists have also filed lawsuits against the festival for non-payment. Ironically, the 2015 Country Explosion Festival has not been cancelled. It is scheduled for July 16th through the 19th. Anita Cochran, Steve Azar, Andy Griggs, and Jamie O’Neal are listed as the artists who are set to perform at this year’s festival.