SXSW Sues Promoter

Officials with South By Southwest are suing concert promoter Joseph Gingerella of Black Ice Booking for allegedly using the festival’s mark to promote his own events before and during the annual festival.

The lawsuit alleges Gingerella “organized, sponsored, promoted and advertised a series of ‘battle of the bands’ events in multiple states using the ‘Road to Southby’ name that offers winners of said events a spot playing ‘a showcase at the SXSW Festival … one that is sanctioned and produced by SXSW,’” according to celebrity news website

SXSW claims that Gingerella’s Austin events are “held to coincide with SXSW Festival … are not part of the SXSW Festival … and … in no way affiliated or sponsored by SXSW.”

The lawsuit claims the plaintiffs have contacted Gingerella about the alleged infringement but “Defendants have not ceased using the SXSW Marks or promoting … in a manner suggesting some affiliation or sponsorship with SXSW.”
The lawsuit seeks $2 million per alleged counterfeit mark and attorneys’ fees, the website said.

A statement Gingerella sent to refutes the lawsuit’s accusations, saying he’s never claimed to be affiliated with the annual festival or advertised as such.

“This year I did a battle of the bands called Road To Southby where bands have a chance to play my events in downtown Austin for 8 days in March,” the statement said. “I have always made it clear to the bands that these are my events and just like many other promoters who do parties and showcases at the same time SXSW is going on.”

Gingerella claims some former partners he let go are spreading “lies” to SXSW officials about him allegedly “misrepresenting” his events. The promoter also told the website he thinks SXSW “is mad because my events do not charge a cover charge.”