Ultra Music Festival exploded from its South Florida home where it got its start in 1999 to the global phenomenon we know it as today. From shows in Asia, Africa, South America, the Caribbean and more, Ultra has encompassed the globe with massive headliners and even larger audiences. However, a dispute between the head honchos of the brand and their European counterparts may be the next big lawsuit in the electronic dance music industry.
Since April 28th, both Ultra Miami’s legal representatives at Worldwide Entertainment Group Inc. and Ultra Europe’s lawyers at Adria MM Productions have been squabbling over legalities in Miami’s federal courts over Ultra Europe’s claims of unfair demands from Ultra HQ. AMM also accuses the Miami branch of blocking access to their social media sites to promote the upcoming Ultra Europe Music Festival coming up in July. However, the biggest claim that the promoters of Ultra Europe are throwing into court is alleging that the Miami company never had the Ultra trademark in Croatia at all.
Representatives at Adria MM Productions said, “Ultra repeatedly threatened to cancel the event when [we] did not acquiesce to Ultra’s increasingly burdensome demands. Reluctant to disappoint thousands of electronic music fans attending the yearly event, [we] strove to meet each and every demand by Ultra, even when such demands were unreasonable.” According to them, these demands included, “exclusive approval of vendors, prohibitively expensive staffing arrangements, luxury travel arrangements, and additional promotional fees.”
Although the Croatian team went along with the demands throughout their partnership, Ultra HQ wanted to renew the contract for another five years with what AMM Productions describes as “equally oppressive terms.” When they denied the new contract, the Croatians were blocked from using social media accounts and emails to keep them from talking to or promoting the festival to fans or the media. This led the people at AMM to do some legal digging only to unearth that their alleged tormentors in Miami do not own their trademarked name in Croatia.
Meanwhile, Ultra Miami has thrown in a counter lawsuit against Ultra Europe. The countersuit includes claims that the promoters behind Ultra Europe have thrown unauthorized events, shared trade secrets, and breached their contract.
According to attorneys at Worldwide Entertainment Group Inc., “AMM breached the License Agreement by… failing to pay [us] the fees required by the License Agreement… improperly obtaining, advancing to itself, and utilizing approximately €1.4 million from the sale of tickets to the 2017 event.” They have also denied all of the alleged claims that AMM has made against them while stating that they do own the trademark for their company name in Croatia and all of Europe.
To make matters worse, the Miami promoter claims that AMM have been throwing events that directly compete with Ultra HQ while sitting with thousands of dollars in debt. Events like Croatia Music Week Zagreb, Croatia Winter Music Festival, and the news conferences around them are just some of the events that Worldwide Entertainment Group Inc. claim are unauthorized events according to the contracts the promoters at AMM are allegedly breaking.
Even with all this legal mumbo-jumbo taking place in Miami, it still appears that Ultra Europe is going to take place in Split, Croatia between July 14th through the 16th. Whether that will remain the case is uncertain as Ultra Europe has faced financial difficulties in the four years they have maintained the festival and is reaching out to the Croatian Ministry of Tourism for up to a million euros to stay afloat for its 5th anniversary.
Image via Rukes.com