Country Jam, ‘Bobby’ feud topic of Loma town meetings

The subject of a pending federal lawsuit, the feud between country music festivals will be the focus of town meetings over the next two weeks in Loma.

Joe Coleman, an attorney representing Country Jam who has criticized plans for Bobby’s Birthday Bash, has reserved the Cattleman’s Livestock Auction sale barn, 1369 12.5 Road, for a meeting scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Fliers for the meeting, which are circulating in Loma, read that the forum is open to all and will focus on Country Jam’s arguments against Bobby’s Birthday Bash, proposed to take place June 23–25 on 82 acres near Loma, on the north side of Interstate 70. The event coincides with Country Jam’s 20th anniversary in Mack.

A conditional-use permit for Bobby’s Birthday Bash is pending before Mesa County planners.

“50,000 people in your backyard?” the flier reads. “Who is ‘Bobby Willis?’ He has been invited to tell you.”

The latter claim was news to Willis on Saturday, who said he was unaware of the invitation or the meeting.

“I’ll get ahold of my attorney,” said Willis, who told assembled media during a news conference Feb. 5 that he has lived in Loma for nine months.

Willis said he likely won’t attend the Thursday meeting, but his representatives will. Willis said he has his own town forum planned for 6 p.m. March 10 at Loma Elementary School, 1360 13 Road.

In the end, a federal judge may have the last word.

Willis, who has land holdings and several corporate entities registered in New Mexico, denied allegations lodged in a lawsuit by Country Jam, claiming he failed to return proprietary information detailing the secrets of the Mack festival after Willis tried to buy Country Jam.

Coleman claimed Willis signed a nondisclosure agreement and a letter of intent to buy Country Jam for $8.2 million in cash, but talks fell apart when Willis tried to complete the deal with an exchange of land he claimed to own in New Mexico.

The lawsuit also questions how Grand Valley law enforcement, fire and ambulance services could be stretched to cover dueling, simultaneous music festivals along Interstate 70.

“I don’t care if he competes with us, but the community can’t handle two events like this over the same weekend,” Coleman said.

The lawsuit asks a federal judge to issue an injunction halting Willis’ festival, as well as unspecified monetary damages.


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