Tortuga Music Festival Owner/Co-Founder File Suit Against Ticketfly

Tortuga Music Festival owner TMF2013 and its parent entity, Rock The Ocean, have filed a lawsuit against Ticketfly accusing the company of “threatening to try to disrupt” the April 2018 event. 
The litigation was in response to a letter sent from the counsel for Ticketfly’s parent company, Eventbrite, accusing Tortuga of being in breach of a ticketing agreement, as first reported by the Tennessean.

Rock The Ocean/TMF2013’s complaint for declaratory judgment was filed in Nashville Nov. 29 – a few days after a presale began for 2018’s Tortuga Music Festival via Front Gate Tickets, a subsidiary of Live Nation. Tickets went on sale to the general public Dec. 1.
The complaint says that because passes are already on sale “a speedy hearing and resolution of this controversy is necessary.”
In essence, the lawsuit involves a dispute between Tortuga Music Festival and Ticketfly, with the ticketing company claiming the festival needs to honor its agreement to use Ticketfly for the next event while the festival, now aligned with Live Nation, claims any agreement is null and void. The original agreement was entered when Huka Entertainment was a partner in Tortuga and the festival argues that with Huka gone, the contract is gone too.

The Nov. 6 letter sent from Eventbrite’s litigation counsel to Rock The Ocean (RTO) founder Chris Stacey claims that Ticketfly entered into a two-year exclusive services agreement with Huka Entertainment in July 2013, which was renewed for an additional four years, through September 2019.
Huka Entertainment, which co-founded Tortuga with Rock The Ocean in 2013, produced and promoted the festival from 2013 to 2017. A source previously told Pollstar in early October that Huka is no longer involved with Tortuga Music Festival in any capacity.
Eventbrite’s letter, which acknowledged that Huka sold its membership interests in the festival, said that it hoped to resolve the ticketing matter amicably and requested that Tortuga Music Festival proceed with ticketing through Ticketfly.   
“Should you proceed with ticket sales through Live Nation (or any other ticketing provider) in breach of the agreement, we will have no choice but to engage our outside litigation counsel to enforce all of our legal rights, including filing a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against RTO and Live Nation (or any other ticketing provider) and pursuing claims against RTO (as well as H1, Huka and TMF) for breach of contract and against Live Nation (or any other ticketing provider) for intentional interference with contractual relations.”
The letter notes that Ticketfly agreed to pay Huka a $1 million signing bonus in regards to ticketing Pemberton Music Festival and Tortuga “of which Huka agreed to repay a prorated portion in the event the agreement was terminated.” $500,000 is allegedly owed on the signing bonus.
Rock The Ocean/TMF2013’s complaint points out that Ticketfly has at all times known that TMF2013 and Huka are distinct companies and adds that the only contract that TMF2013 has ever had with Ticketfly was a Ticketfly Services Agreement that was specific to the April 2015 Tortuga Music Festival.  
The complaint ends by saying, “Ticketfly’s ongoing threats, while completely without merit, are creating an atmosphere of uncertainty.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd Plays Tortuga 2016
Tortuga Music Festival
– Lynyrd Skynyrd Plays Tortuga 2016
Johnny Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd entertains the crowd during the Tortuga Music Festival at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park in Florida April 16, 2016.
Stacey released the following statement to Pollstar: “Ticketfly unfortunately left TMF2013 (the company that has owned Tortuga since 2012) with no choice but to file a lawsuit to protect its business interests and those of the festival. While we understand that Ticketfly has done a good job as a ticketing vendor for the festival in the past, Ticketfly chose for its own reasons to make its agreement with Huka Productions rather than with TMF2013, the festival’s owner.  As we explained to Ticketfly before filing the lawsuit, if Ticketfly thinks Huka has breached that contract, that is an issue between Ticketfly and Huka that does not involve TMF2013. We are hopeful that cooler heads will prevail and that Ticketfly’s frivolous threats will soon be put to rest.”
A representative for Eventbrite told Pollstar the company is unable to comment on pending litigation.
Pollstar also reached out to Ticketfly and Huka Entertainment for comment.
Tortuga Music Festival is scheduled April 6-8 at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The 2018 edition is headlined by Eric Church, Keith Urban, and Florida Georgia Line

A portion of the proceeds from Tortuga Music Festival go to protecting the event’s namesake sea turtles, as well as supporting marine conservation and research. 

Tortuga’s 2016 festival grossed nearly $6.7 million, with 90,142 attendees during the three-day event, according to box office reports submitted to Pollstar. Tortuga ranked No. 18 on Pollstar‘s 2016 Year End Top 20 Worldwide Festival Grosses chart. The 2015 festival sold out, grossing more than $7.3 million. Box office reports have not yet been submitted for 2017.