Gun-rights rocker Nugent won't be at Clark County Fair

Fair manager says cancelation due to schedule, not controversy

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

Updated: May 8, 2014, 9:52 AM

 

Controversial rocker Ted Nugent, known for his right-wing political views as much as his music, has been disinvited to the Clark County Fair.

Fair Manager John Morrison said Wednesday the cancellation of Nugent’s Aug. 5 concert was prompted by a contractual issue. He said feedback received since Nugent’s show was announced on April 28, which includes a petition urging fair organizers to nudge the Nuge from the lineup, weren’t factors in his decision.

“This is a completely separate issue,” Morrison said.

He explained that fair contracts signed with artists prohibit the performers from playing other shows within a certain distance and time of the fair. Nugent’s “Shut Up & Jam!” tour includes shows Aug. 2 and 3 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma. Morrison said he only learned of the Tacoma dates on May 1, when he went online to check ticket sales.

Had he known about the Tacoma shows, Morrison said, he would have never booked the “Cat Scratch Fever” singer.

The fair’s booking agent contacted Nugent’s representatives to let them know about the cancellation, Morrison said.

As reported on The Columbian’s All Politics is Local blog in an April 30 post, Nugent’s show was announced April 28 on the fair’s website. Vancouver resident Troy Maxcy started a petition on the liberal website MoveOn.org titled, “No Ted Nugent at the Clark County Fair.”

Maxcy, 46, said Wednesday he didn’t believe Nugent fit with a family-friendly event. His petition had received approximately 400 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon, which surprised him.

“I know how red Clark County is,” Maxcy said.

Protests over Nugent, who played the Clark County Fair in 2005, aren’t new. The Motor City Madman has never been known for subtlety. In “Jailbait,” he sings, “Well I don’t care if you’re just 13/You look too good to be true/I just know that you’re probably clean/There’s one lil’ thing I got to do to you.” He goes on to sing, “Wait a minute officer/Don’t put those handcuffs on me/Put them on her and I’ll share her with you.”

But the conservative activist has more recently been in the news for his criticism of Democrats and social commentary than for his music.

Nugent made headlines last year for calling President Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel” during an appearance at a gun expo and campaigning for conservative candidates. This year, a city in Texas paid Nugent $16,000 not to show up at a Fourth of July festival, saying Nugent was “not the right feel for this kind of community event.”

Following the announcement of Nugent’s show on the fair’s website, Morrison said he received several phone calls and emails from people expressing support for Nugent, as well as from people who wanted the fair to cancel the show.

As of Wednesday, Morrison said he wasn’t sure what or who would replace Nugent on the grandstand on Aug. 5. The grandstand entertainment includes a mix of musicians, rodeo events and motor sports. He said he’ll either find a musician to replace Nugent or have the stage taken down after the Chase Rice concert on Aug. 4,and find a non-musical event.

While Morrison said his decision was based strictly on the contract prohibition on close-play dates, other bands scheduled to play the grandstand will be coming off Pacific Northwest gigs.

Night Ranger, for example, plays July 31 in Albany, Ore., the night before its show at the fair, and Albany’s closer to Ridgefield than Tacoma.

Morrison said Thursday that Night Ranger’s Albany gig was listed as an exception in the Radius Protection for Performance and Promotion paragraph of the contract.

It was already booked when the fair offered the Aug. 1 show, which gave Morrison time to evaluate the impact of that exception.

The Radius Protection for Performance and Promotion paragraph exists in contracts “to protect the venue as far as our financial investment in an act and to maximize our ability to market a particular show,” he wrote in an email. “Each performance is looked at separately and evaluated on a variety of variables. There is not a hard and fast rule that applies to all concerts across the board,” he wrote.

In the case of Night Ranger, Morrison said he made an exception because the group is playing a small venue in Albany and the ‘80s rock has proved popular enough at the fair that he’s not worried the Albany show will have an impact.

Lonestar and Rice are in the lineup for the Watershed festival Aug. 1-3 at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George. That venue, however, sits about 280 miles northeast of Ridgefield.

The Clark County Fair runs Aug. 1-10 at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Ridgefield.