Country Jam sues to stop rival ‘Bobby’ event

Bobby Willis

The Wisconsin-based ownership of Country Jam is asking a federal judge to block a potential competing event planned for late June, claiming the man behind the upstart Bobby’s Birthday Bash has violated a contractual agreement.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin, attorneys representing the venerable Mack festival asked a judge for temporary and permanent injunctions, in addition to monetary damages against Bobby Willis, the man with New Mexico ties proposing a free-of-charge music event June 23-25, on 82 acres near Loma just north of Interstate 70.

The event runs on the same days as Country Jam, which marks 20 years in Mack.

Willis approached Country Jam officials in September toward purchasing the Mack festival.

In doing so, Willis signed a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement when he was provided a host of information about the event, according to the lawsuit. The materials included, “all contracts with sponsors, all of their contracts with artists/entertainers, budgets, expense information, tax returns, profit and loss statements, pricing information, sales figures, equipment lists, advertising information and permit information,” reads the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges the deal fell apart when Willis, who initially agreed to the cash purchase of Country Jam for a price of $8.25 million, altered his end by seeking to do the deal with an exchange of land he owns in New Mexico, which “he represented was worth at least the $8.25 million asking price.”

When asked to return the proprietary information, Willis refused and is now using the material to plan a competing event, the lawsuit alleges.

Willis denied the allegations in an interview published in today’s Daily Sentinel.

Read the full story in Wednesday’s Daily Sentinel.



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