Country Explosion Fizzles

Utah’s Country Explosion is calling off this year’s version of the country music festival, an announcement that follows the contentious and litigious ending to the 2014 edition.

Organizers released a statement  that thanked its fans and offered refunds to vendors and ticket buyers. The event was expected to take place in Tooele, Utah, July 16-19. Vendors, and fans that bought tickets during last year’s event, are the first to get paid, starting Aug. 1 with the rest to get refunds beginning in September.

The festival made news last year because of a lawsuit against performer Florida Georgia Line. The organizers sued the duo and – in what may be an unprecedented move – its tour manager for $15 million. The band was asked to accept a check for its performance, rather than be paid up front as is the norm, and to not deposit it for three days.  What happened at that point resulted in a lawsuit and a countersuit.

Festival organizers claimed tour manager Troy Johnson emailed agents and artists that the check bounced “making Counter [Explosion] absolutely toxic among the artists and booking agencies in Nashville.”  Florida Georgia Line in its countersuit basically claimed the promoters didn’t adequately fund the check, then put a “stop payment” order on it, and the band sought the balance of $205,000.

“We would like to thank all of our Country fans over the past 4 years for all of the friendships and memories and regret to inform you that we will not be able to move forward this year because of circumstances beyond our control,” the statement said.

The 2015 lineup was not online at the time of the announcement, although Bucky Covington had the fest on his itinerary.