Promoter Jean Paul Gauthier accuses Feldman, Johnny Reid, and Cowboy Junkies of breaching the clause, which prevents artists from playing within a certain radius of Hamilton, Ontario, for at least 90 days of the Aug. 26-28 fest at Christie Lake Conservation Area, according to the Hamilton Spectator.
Artist Jann Arden, who canceled her headlining appearance because of illness according to CBC News, is also named in the suit. Feldman Agency represents Arden, Reid, and Cowboy Junkies.
The 15-page complaint was filed in Ontario Superior Court by September Seventh Entertainment, Gauthier’s company that runs Harvest Picnic as well as the annual Hamilton Music Awards. The suit claims that both events are now in danger of “collapse,” according to the paper. “The events that September Seventh produces and owns, namely the Harvest Picnic and Hamilton Music Awards, are now at great risk of ceasing to exist due to the unconscionable conduct, high-handed conduct or conduct in bad faith and breaches of contract by the defendants,” the statement of claim says, as reported by Spectator.
Harvest Picnic expanded from one to two days this year, but the paper reports crowds were “noticeably lower than the previous five years” and some artists say they haven’t been paid by Gauthier.
Among those are local musician Jeremy Fisher, who said a check to him bounced. “It’s a sad situation. (Gauthier) has always been pretty good to me. It was a good festival,” Fisher told the Spectator. “I honestly feel bad for (Gauthier),” Fisher’s manager, Mike Renaud, told the paper. “I think he just got in over his head. I don’t think he’s a malicious person. But I don’t think this (filing a lawsuit) is the best way to handle it.”
Feldman Agency’s Jeff Craib has called the suit “frivolous and vexatious,” without merit and attorneys are in the process of having it dismissed “in short order.”