Skate & Surf Suit

New Jersey’s Concerts East Inc. has filed suit against fellow promoter Max Cruise Entertainment, alleging the latter is causing confusion in the marketplace by booking an event similar to Concerts East’s Skate and Surf Festival into the same venue two weeks prior.

Max Cruise Entertainment’s Bamboozle is slated for April 29th to May 1st at the Asbury Park Convention Hall. Concerts East’s event is scheduled for May 13-15.

The Skate and Surf Festival includes skating competitions along with several dozen punk and emo bands. Last year, it attracted 15,000 fans, according to newspaper reports.

The Bamboozle was held last year at the city’s famed Stone Pony club; this year’s lineup at the convention center includes The Bouncing Souls, Thrice, Straylight Run, and Alkaline Trio.

According to the lawsuit, MCE prexy John D’Esposito is a former employee of Concerts East and participated in the marketing and production of the Skate and Surf Festival. After D’Esposito left the company to help form MCE, he was still retained by Concerts East to help market and produce the Skate and Surf Festival in 2003 and 2004.

Last fall, D’Esposito met with Concerts East to discuss the May 2005 fest, including prospective artists and new ideas for the event, according to the lawsuit. In November, D’Esposito sent a letter to Concerts East saying MCE would not be involved in this year’s event.

MCE had “payment issues” with the 2004 Skate and Surf Festival, according to a letter included in the lawsuit. The company also objected to a change of location, addition of new activities like paintball and possible sale of the festival.

Bamboozle was then booked two weeks prior to the Skate and Surf fest at the convention center, according to the lawsuit. Concerts East claims that soon afterward, it started receiving e-mails from industry insiders who were confused about the events.

The company accuses D’Esposito of misusing trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duties and unfair competition. It is asking that MCE be enjoined from proceeding with Bamboozle and for monetary damages.

Concerts East had no comment, and D’Esposito could not be reached at press time, although he told the Gannett News Service, “The suit is groundless and has no merit. … The matter will be handled by our attorneys in court.”

Artists playing this year’s Skate and Surf fest have not been announced.