Judge Awards Damages For Sturgis

A judge in South Dakota ruled November 18th that Sturgis Music Festival promoter Ron Rose is responsible for $18,500 in fees to TDG Communications, an ad agency hired to promote the failed 2004 event.

TDG was seeking $48,000 plus punitive damages and attorneys fees.

The decision reportedly came at the end of nearly four full days of testimony in a three-way trial between TDG, festival partner Ericka Hansen, Rose and Sturgis 2004 – the limited liability company that staged the festival. Hansen is a co-defendant in the case.

The planned eight-day fest – with a lineup including B.B. King and Hank Williams Jr. – lasted only three days before Rose pulled the plug, citing poor ticket sales and a lack of funds.

Concert-goers who paid cash for tickets lost out, as did stagehands and vendors.

TDG’s attorney, Haven Stuck, argued that Rose continued to order posters, banners and other advertising material – knowing he didn’t have the money to pay – until the eve of the shutdown, according to the Rapid City Journal.

Representatives for Rose reportedly argued that the promoter did everything he could to make the festival a success – despite misrepresentation by Hansen about expected sponsorship dollars and attendance.

Hansen’s attorney, David Siebrasse, placed all the blame on Rose, alleging the promoter violated the LLC’s partnership agreement and acted well beyond his authority, the paper said. The attorney also alleges that Rose left Sturgis with an undetermined amount of cash from ticket sales.

Judge Timothy Johns ruled that because of personal guarantees made to TDG by Rose, the company is owed $18,500. Johns will decide later whether Rose must pay the entire amount sought by TDG, depending on whether he rules Rose acted outside the bounds of the company.