Controversial rocker Ted Nugent didn’t play a note at the Clark County Fair, but that didn’t prevent him from collecting a settlement worth $45,000.
The settlement between the Fairgrounds Site Management Group, Nugent and Northwest Events & Marketing Inc., which booked Nugent, was executed on July 7 but only came to light following a request by The Columbian.
Per the terms of the settlement, Northwest Events & Marketing paid Nugent $15,000 over the summer. The settlement also called for him to be booked at an alternate show on Aug. 5 at the Portland Expo Center and be paid $30,000.
Neither Clark County nor the Fairgrounds Site Management Group, a nonprofit corporation, bore any costs associated with the settlement.
Nugent’s original contract called for him to be paid $61,500 for a show at the Clark County Fair.
None of the parties involved in the settlement acknowledged liability, the document says.
Tom Fohn, president of Northwest Events & Marketing, said settlements between booking firms and musicians are not uncommon. In this case, he said, at least Nugent’s fans were afforded the opportunity to see him perform at a local venue.
“There were lot of people who wanted to see him play. Period,” Fohn said. “And they got to do that at the Expo Center.”
The settlement put to rest a months-long back-and-forth between the fairgrounds and Nugent, during which the musician known as the Motor City Madman was booked to play and then uninvited.
The fair announced Nugent would be a performer in late April. Almost immediately, some residents expressed concern that Nugent, known for his right wing views and racy lyrics, was not a good fit for a family-friendly concert. A petition began circulating on the website MoveOn.org to have him taken off the bill.
Shortly after the petition hit the Internet, Fair Manager John Morrison announced Nugent’s gig had been canceled. He said the decision had nothing to do with the controversy surrounding the musician but was instead prompted by a contractual conflict.
He said the contract prohibited Nugent from playing other shows within a certain geographical area and a specific period of time. Morrison said he had learned that Nugent was playing two concerts at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma on Aug. 2 and 3, which was considered in conflict with the contract. Nugent’s fair show was scheduled for Aug. 5.
The cancellation created its own controversy.
The fair began receiving angry emails from Nugent supporters, who complained about the decision to nix the show. Many believed the fair made that decision to kowtow to political pressure from people who didn’t like Nugent’s conservative views.
Morrison stressed that the two issues were unrelated.
Nugent himself wrote an email to Morrison, in which he groused that people were spreading “hateful lies” and that his shows were the “ultimate PG13 family events.”
“I respectfully recommend you do the right thing to avoid a wasteful & ridiculous long drawn out legal action to finally get to the right thing,” concludes the email, signed “Ted Nugent & Family.”
In early June, lawyers for Nugent, along with his agent, said they were preparing for a breach of contract lawsuit.
Nugent has successfully sued festivals for canceling concerts in the past.
In 2008, a judge ordered the Muskegon Summer Celebration, in Minnesota, to pay the musician $80,000. The festival canceled the show, citing Nugent’s proclivity for “potentially offensive racist terms,” which Nugent argued hurt his reputation.
During this summer’s negotiations, the fair argued that Northwest Events & Marketing acted negligently because it didn’t supply Nugent with timely paperwork. The company disputed those claims and also refused the fairground’s request for indemnification.