Business

Florida festival sues Iowa-based entertainment company Basis Entertainment

An Iowa-based entertainment company faces a more than quarter-of-a-million-dollar Florida lawsuit alleging the Forest City company owes $275,000 to a the organizers of a country music festival.

A lawsuit — filed in April of this year in the 18th Judicial Circuit in Brevard County, Florida — claims that father and son Gary and Dave Dewaard, of Forest City’s Basis Entertainment, have wrongfully kept revenue from online ticket sales from Kissimmee, Florida-based Runaway Country Music Festival earlier this year.

“We’ve been trying to get the money ever since the festival took place in March. They have since refused to turn it over,” Gary McCann, producer of Runaway Country, told The Gazette.

Officials with Basis Marketing could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.

McCann said Runaway Country partnered with the Dewaards, who were operating in Florida under a company named Beachtown, for the music festival’s eighth year.

The plan was for Basis Entertainment to purchase Runaway Country, but the deal ultimately fell through, McCann said in a Thursday email.

However, both companies gained access to a merchant count — used for ticket sales — during the transition. McCann said he has been seeking those funds — due to videographers, caterers, equipment rental companies, for example — for months.

“We are saddened and frankly shocked to learn what was supposed to be a new partner with our existing ownership group, has in fact taken a portion of the festival’s ticket revenue from the merchant account and spent it elsewhere,” he said in the email. “These funds are needed to pay suppliers to the festival. We have had eight great years building relationships with some outstanding businesses in the community. It is important for these companies to be paid for their products and services — some of the missing funds are even due to local charities.”

According to Brevard County court documents, a hearing for the lawsuit is scheduled for Sept. 20.

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According to the Basis Marketing website, the company’s clients include Tree Town Music Festival in Forest City and Iowa City’s Back Porch Revival at Kinnick Stadium.

Basis Entertainment provides event coordination, project management and business consultation services, according to the company website.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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