Ultra Sues Staging Company for Withholding $800k Deposit

We were all hoping by now some miracle would have taken place and we’d have Ultra Music Festival 2021 tickets on sale. Instead, Ultra is filing a lawsuit stemming from last year’s canceled festival. Last week, Event Entertainment Group, Ultra’s parent company, filed suit in Miami against AG Production Services, Inc.

The Contract

This is the company that builds the stages and rigs the lighting for Ultra. Ultra had a contract to pay the staging company over $1.5 million to build, manage, supervise, and remove lighting, video, and stages for the festival. Before the festival had taken place, Ultra had paid the company $798,808.50 when the agreement was signed. The rest was payable at the time of the festival and afterwards.

The Cancelation

When Miami forced Ultra’s cancelation, the festival sent the staging company a letter demanding a refund of the deposit. Ultra relied on a “force majeure” provision in the contract. In short, this is an “act of god” occurrence that makes the contract impossible to perform and allows cancelation without penalty. These types of clauses came into play for thousands during COVID, but they do not always work. This contract did actually have force majeure provisions in it, and it appears AG Events is in violation of it.

AG Events told Ultra they had already spent all of the money on payroll, rental gear, trucking, hotel costs, and travel costs. Ultra disputes the travel, hotel, and trucking costs because AG’s people and equipment never came to Miami.

Event Entertainment (Ultra) sued AG Events for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Morgan & Morgan is the firm representing Ultra in this case.

The Documents

While none of this is very surprising at this point, what is worth looking at are the exhibits to the lawsuit. Ultra attaches the contract with its staging company, which is something we rarely get to see. The most interesting part is the breakdown of costs for the stages. The Resistance Megastructure is quite an expensive stage. The structure itself costs $480,000 with lighting and video costing another $349k. The mainstage is actually built by another company, so we don’t have the full price here. However, the lighting and video screens for the mainstage end up costing $441k. The worldwide stage costs under $300k in total.

One hopeful note is that the final exhibit is a letter from the Miami City Manager explaining that a force majeure event had taken place. In his letter he confirms that Ultra’s deal would be put in place for March 26, 27, and 28 of 2021. While we don’t know what the future holds for Ultra, they aren’t finished yet. You can read the lawsuit and the exhibits below.