Update May 8, 2017: Ultra Worldwide has released an official statement on the future of Ultra Europe.
Click HERE for the update from Ultra.
For a festival to be held in less than 70 days, important Ultra Europe details remain in question after production company files suit.
Speculations of Ultra Europe 2017 canceling are circulating after Croatia promotion company, Adria MM Productions, filed suit with Ultra. According to court documents, Ultra has breached its licensing agreement with AMM after falsely representing that it owned the event trademark in Europe. AMM has been the operator and exclusive promoter of Ultra Europe since 2013 through a 5-year license agreement with Ultra (Worldwide Entertainment Group, Inc.).
Despite Ultra Europe being a success, the promotion company lost money on the event year after year.
Ultra reportedly enforced their initial agreement in a way that was not anticipated by AMM. Worldwide Entertainment Group, Inc. demanded large, upfront payments be paid in full throughout the relationship. These payments made the promotion company believe it owned the Ultra Europe trademark due to licensing and promotional fees for use of its proprietary marks.
Even though the first festival operated in the negative, Ultra pressured AMM into terms more favorable to Ultra and more oppressive to the promotion company. Demands included “exclusive approval of vendors, prohibiting expensive staffing arrangements, luxury travel arrangements, and additional promotional fees” that ended up being AMM’s responsibility to pay for. This gave control to Ultra even though AMM was responsible for execution for the event reducing its ability to profit.
After the 2017 edition of Ultra Europe was announced, Ultra proposed to renew their contract with AMM with “unreasonable and financially devastating terms.”
According to court documents, AMM responded by requesting a more even-handed agreement to be considered due to the high risk and costs of running the festival. Ultra retaliated by removing the promoter’s access to the festival’s social media channels, disabling email accounts used to promote the festival, silencing AMM from making any statements to fans or media regarding the future of the festival, and revoked their right to promote the festival in 2017 altogether.
Adria MM Productions has repeatedly expressed its desire for Ultra Europe to continue in 2017.
Not only would canceling this year’s edition be a disappointment to fans wishing to attend, it would be devastating to local businesses that depend on the revenue brought in from the annual event. Cancelling Ultra Europe would also be financially disastrous for AMM, yet Ultra continued to demand an unreasonable 5-year license agreement renewal. While promoters want Ultra Europe 2017 to happen, they need to see the exact costs and financial effects for the city of Split and the country of Croatia.
After realizing Ultra would not allow the 2017 edition of the festival to continue under its current agreement without renewing, AMM filed suit. The company is seeking compensatory damages on claims of fraud in the inducement, fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and tortious interference with a business relationship.
According to court documents, AMM says it discovered Ultra did not own the Ultra Europe trademark in Croatia and Europe when it entered into the initial agreement with AMM. They believe Ultra falsely represented that they owned the trademarks to be able to reap unjustified fees and other benefits.
Sadly, this is not the first festival that we have seen this year with an uncertain future.
Last month, we broke the story of Mysteryland USA getting canceled and see similar inactivity happening with Ultra Europe. On April 18, promoters expressed that the festival will still be fully announced in time and that ticket sales are excellent according to Tportal. That being said, the official Facebook page of Ultra Europe has not made any posts since April 20. Fans have expressed their concern on Facebook demanding a response to the lack of a lineup announcement and rumors of not renting the Poljud stadium.
We have reached out to Ultra Europe for an official statement on the lawsuit and the future of Ultra Europe. Stay tuned for more information as this story develops.
H/t: Court House News
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Featured Photo Credit: Ultra Europe