Grassroots Music Fest Mess

The promoters of a three-day festival in Council Bluffs, Iowa, are being sued by the event’s main investor who’s seeking more than $400,000.

While The Dom Group principals Jason Dick and Darik Opperman claim Grassroots Music Festival was basically a success, investor Eric Marsh told the Omaha World-Herald he just wants his money back from the event.

“Somehow the guy who wrote $482,000 in checks became the bad guy,” Marsh said. His suit is seeking repayment of money he invested in the fest and alleges breach of contract, nonpayment of a loan and fraud, according to court documents obtained by the paper. Marsh isn’t the only one saying he’s owed money, however. A number of vendors complained to the paper their contracts with the fest weren’t honored and are seeking reimbursement of deposits and other expenses.

The way the promoters see it, Marsh, who purchased exclusive rights to sell food and beverage at the festival, was the one who led things off-track. In a statement on Facebook, The Dom Group noted the “shortage of beer, water, and food were beyond our control. A third party was in charge of that aspect of the show and would not allow us any input or control. Needless to say, we will do whatever we can to bring in better options for festival attendees in the future.

“Did we want $10 beers sold at our event? Absolutely not! Was it our idea to serve barbecue to everyone for three days straight, and on grass? No way! But that is how it played out. Remember last year we had 8 different food vendors, and a full food area for everyone to peruse,” they wrote. Several local businesses had signed contracts with The Dom Group beginning in March to sell food during the festival, but in April, the promoters sold exclusive rights to Marsh and didn’t notify the vendors the contracts with them were being broken until a few days before the festival, the World-Herald reported.

“It’s real sketchy, the whole experience,” a vendor told the paper. “At no point did we ever know there was any issue.” The promoters responded they’ve been in contact with the jilted vendors about repayment. “We’ve spoken with all of them. The funds are available,” Dick said. “We want to get them back on track to get them back next year.” The Dom Group also addressed some of the fest’s other issues on Facebook including long lines and wait times at the gate, the cancellations of Fetty Wap and Schoolboy Q in the lineup, and VIP tickets that failed to live up to their price point.

“We are asking people to help focus on the many positives that came out of this event being our first three-day show,” they wrote. “Putting on a concert of this size is no easy task and takes a tremendous amount of work in order to get all the moving parts on the same page. Yes we had hurdles to overcome this year and we will take those in stride as we prepare for next years line-up!” The promoters told the paper they plan to file a response to Marsh’s suit and a counterclaim, alleging he violated their contracts.