Rock Gone Wild Lawsuit

Promoter Donnie Frizzell has moved forward with his lawsuit against Diamond Jo Casino of Northwood, Iowa, and its affiliates regarding the cancellation of the Rock Gone Wild festival originally scheduled Aug. 20-23.

The lawsuit, filed in Worth County Court, accuses the casino and its managers, Kim Pang and Scott Smith, its parent company Peninsula Gaming, and Peninsula Gaming CEO Jonathon Swain of breach of contract, estoppel by detrimental reliance, fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment.

Frizzell told Pollstar the festival cancellation was more than just a financial blow.

“The lawsuit is based on their unwarranted actions of Aug. 5 when we received a letter from a ‘legal entity’ representing their organization and personnel, stating that they have canceled the use of their Northwood, Iowa, premises for this year’s ‘Rock Gone Wild Iowa’ festival due to ‘Iowa Gaming Regulations’ and the ‘Department of Corrections’ and to please remove all wording from the official ‘Rock Gone Wild’ Web site,” Frizzell said in an e-mail. “These actions affected a festival that’s been on the go for over a year now [and had] many people involved …

“It still doesn’t make sense to us. Why do something the defendants knew would affect so many people, good or bad and, in this case, all you had to say was ‘No’ in the [first] place. Now is the time for all to see.”

The festival, originally slated for Freedom Park in Algona, boasted a lineup with headliners George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Jackyl, Dokken, Saxon, Warrant, April Wine, Twisted Sister, Lita Ford and Skid Row.

The event was moved to the parking lot outside Diamond Jo Casino in July reportedly to handle an estimated 20,000 or more concertgoers.

Copies of legal documents obtained by Pollstar show that the parties met and agreed on an oral contract July 10. However, Pang e-mailed Frizzell July 16 and said the casino owners no longer felt the event was “a good fit for our property nor demographics” reportedly because of sexual and nudity references in the Rock Gone Wild promotion.

Frizzell agreed to remove those references and, according to the legal filing, Diamond Jo reps agreed to host the festival and drew up the formal contract.

However, the lawsuit claims the formal contract terms didn’t match the oral agreement and Frizzell sent it back for revision several times. He e-mailed Pang Aug. 4 and informed him he wasn’t willing to sign an agreement that didn’t represent the terms the parties had agreed on. Another issue the parties didn’t agree on was the amount of liability insurance casino reps required for Rock Gone Wild to take place.

Diamond Jo Casino’s legal counsel contacted Frizzell Aug. 5, saying Rock Gone Wild could no longer be held on the casino premises.

The lawsuit is asking for a jury trial to determine unspecified punitive and exemplary damages.