Rock Gone Wild Is Gone

Promoters have canceled Rock Gone Wild, the Iowa-based festival featuring ‘80s metal bands scheduled for this weekend, and it looks as if ticket holders, some of whom paid $500 or more, might have to wait a while for refunds, if refunds come.

Rock Gone Wild was originally scheduled to take place at Freedom Park in Algona, Iowa, Aug. 20-23. Organizers announced a change in venue in late July, moving the festival to Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood.

The lineup included George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Jackyl, Saxon, Dokken, Warrant, April Wine, Twisted Sister and Skid Row among the many acts. The festival also featured not one but two former Runaways – Cherie Currie on Friday and Lita Ford on Saturday.

However, 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.”

Jonathan Swain, chief of operations for Diamond Jo Casino parent company Peninsula Gaming, told the Des Moines Register 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 said. “They will sue us. But there is no contract.”

The festival’s Web site has yet to announce 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 IP address will be stored with the submitted information.

Along with asking ticket holders to fill out and submit the online form, 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.”

Frizzell’s lawyer told the Register the promoter will “lose a ton of money” on Rock Gone Wild. There is speculation Frizzell will have to successfully sue the casino before he can refund ticket purchases.

Phiil McCormick, a spokesman for ABATE of Iowa, owner of original venue Freedom Park, said his group has a signed contract by a Frizzell associate that promises ABATE $12,000 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,” 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.”

Frizzell was not immediately available for comment.