Taylor Swift Sued In Hoedown Slowdown

A company involved in a canceled Ottawa, Ontario, country music festival is suing Taylor Swift and her organization for $1.8 million in an attempt to reclaim money paid to her in advance.

Photo: John Shearer / Invision / AP
Grammy Awards, Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.

The Capital Hoedown was to take place Aug. 10-12, but promoter Denis Benoit canceled the event in July, citing “unforeseen operating obstacles, several media reports containing untrue, defamatory and injurious statements … and the City’s denial for a new event permit,” according to a Facebook post.

Tickets had been processed through a company called Evo Merchant Services, which refunded potential festivalgoers. Now, Evo is suing AEG / The Messina Group, Swift’s longtime promoter and new agency, to reclaim some, or all, of Swift’s guarantee. The lawsuit claims Swift secured a $2.5 million advance, which means Swift would still keep $700,000 if the lawsuit is successful, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

However, the money paid to Swift – and the amount varies – appears to be part of a boilerplate advance agreement that would be nonrefundable if the promoter is the one to cancel the performance. Benoit paid a nonrefundable deposit of $250,000 in October and a remaining $2.2 million in December, according to the Citizen.

Ronnie Dunn, Sheryl Crow and Reba were also reportedly on the bill, and Swift was apparently the last to drop from the show.

One report by the Citizen claims TMG is being sued by Front Gate Ticketing – which would make the lawsuit incestuous considering Front Gate and TMG are both AEG subsidiaries (Front Gate is co-owned by C3 Presents).  It is Pollstar’s understanding that Front Gate was only licensed to Evo to power the ticket sales on the back end.

The Messina Group had not seen the lawsuit at press time and could not comment.