BottleRock 2014 approved by Napa Valley Expo

Contract is being hammered out, but creditors' fate remains uncertain
2014-01-21T17:42:00Z 2014-05-01T14:29:33Z BottleRock 2014 approved by Napa Valley ExpoJENNIFER HUFFMAN Napa Valley Register
January 21, 2014 5:42 pm  • 

The Napa Valley Expo announced at its board meeting on Tuesday that it has negotiated a contract for the return of the BottleRock music festival in 2014.

The contract has been sent to the festival’s intended producers, GSF Entertainment LLC, also known as Latitude 38 Entertainment.

BottleRock 2014 "will be held either at the end of May or the first part of June. The dates should be settled by Friday or Monday," Expo CEO Joe Anderson said.

The GSF team received the contract Tuesday morning and is reviewing it, said spokeswoman Tara Murphy. To further that commitment, the group has also given a certified check to the Expo for the full $310,938 it is owed for the 2013 festival.

New sponsors are trying to resuscitate the five-day music festival that was held this past May at the downtown Expo. A music success, with such major artists as Train, the Black Crowes, Joan Jett, Jane's Addiction, Kings of Leon and the Black Keys appearing on multiple stages, the festival ended with a mountain of debt, including unpaid invoices and lawsuits for breach of contract.

Key members of GSF include Napa entrepreneurs David Graham, Jason Scoggins, Joe Fischer and Justin Dragoo.

Fischer is known for his work with Copia and the Gasser Foundation in Napa. Scoggins is the co-founder of Jumpstart Automotive Media. Graham’s experience includes building, operating and investing in technology and e-commerce companies, according to one biography. Dragoo is president of Gargiulo Vineyards in Napa.

According to a letter from GSF Entertainment, the group executed an asset purchase agreement on Jan. 17 that will transfer “certain festival production and brand assets” from BR Festivals to GSF. Confirmation of the agreement was signed by Graham and Gabe Meyers, “manager” of BR Festivals, LLC.

However, Bob Vogt, another BottleRock co-founder, disputed that agreement. In an email received by the board hours before it met on Tuesday afternoon, Vogt wrote that Meyers and BR Festivals attorney Matt Eisenberg have “sought to circumvent” requirements regarding approval of any sale of BR’s assets.

A sale of such assets cannot be complete without his consent, which he has not given, Vogt wrote.

In December, Vogt said he had voluntarily resigned as manager of BottleRock but he remains a manager of WillPower Entertainment, LLC. Willpower Entertainment, founded by Vogt, was a partner in BottleRock.

According to Vogt, BR Festivals requires approval from WillPower management to sell BottleRock assets.

He asked the board to defer a lease until he and Graham could resolve their issues.

After Tuesday’s board meeting, Expo CEO Joe Anderson said that any dispute over BottleRock assets is between Vogt, Meyers and GSF. “We’re moving forward” with a contract with GSF, he said.

“We are very pleased at how all of this is progressing,” said Graham. Once the contract is executed, “we will be able to discuss, in more detail, plans for the 2014 festival.”

Graham declined to say when GSF would sign the Expo contract. He also declined to discuss which vendors would be paid for 2013 expenses or how a possible bankruptcy filing from BR Festivals would impact plans. More than $5.5 million in debt has been publicly disclosed.

One of those vendors is Gary Bauer, president/CEO at Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation. The bus company is owed $524,239 for services at BottleRock 2013.

Bauer attended the Expo board meeting on Tuesday.

“We just want to be compensated,” Bauer said. “I don’t care who does it.” Bauer said he was in discussions with GSF to provide transportation for BottleRock 2014.

In October, Anderson said the Expo board would not approve a contract “until we know everybody will get paid.” On Tuesday, in a phone interview, Anderson said GSF has told the Expo they intend to pay vendors, “but we can’t require it as an element of the contract” with the Expo.

In November, Graham said that the Expo would be paid 100 percent of what it is owed and other vendors would be paid between 50 and 90 percent of amounts due. On Tuesday, Graham said he could not elaborate further until the contract was signed.

Jim Beaumonte, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 16, said Tuesday afternoon that his members “have an agreement to work with Latitude 38 on BottleRock 2014.”

“We’re ready to get back to work,” Beaumonte said.

According to a lawsuit filed by IATSE, $630,000 in wages and benefits were left unpaid after the 2013 event. When asked if those members would be paid for that work, Beaumonte declined to comment.

This story has been corrected. Dates for BottleRock 2014 have not been selected yet.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(42) Comments

  1. Abouttime
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    Abouttime - January 21, 2014 6:05 pm
    The Expo Board has sold out. There is a word for what they did. These new guys have not a clue what they are doing. They want to be close to Rock 'n Roll and get groupies. There dads have money and they will make it possible for them. The run up to a colossal failure will be better than the show. Only naive fools would schedule this for NASCAR weekend. Let the games begin.
  2. Napaienian
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    Napaienian - January 21, 2014 6:14 pm
    As a Alta Heights neighbor, welcome back!! It was an awesome event last year and hopefully all the financial kinks are worked out satisfactorily for everyone!! Bottle Rock on!!!
  3. Napa
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    Napa - January 21, 2014 6:51 pm
    I did hear a possible rumor although unjustified that Sir Paul McCartney may play at this year's festival if he can be booked. Great luck to all you Bottle Rockers, have fun, stay out of trouble, respect your surrounding neighbors and Rock on!!
  4. airXmetal
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    airXmetal - January 21, 2014 7:17 pm
    So they are moving from Mothers Day weekend in May to NASCAR weekend in June.. Great plan... Worst weekend of the summer for traffic coming into and leaving the valley.... Looks like this group of organizers aren't starting out with the smartest choices either..
  5. JoyTo
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    JoyTo - January 21, 2014 7:43 pm
    EXCELLENT. Bottle Rock 2014 - decision made.

  6. johncapone
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    johncapone - January 21, 2014 8:03 pm
    At least the new investors have track record of spectacular failure behind them with Copia. As Garp would say, they are pre-disastered!
  7. tommerle
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    tommerle - January 21, 2014 8:37 pm
    The vendors for year one were like investors who did not see a return. They did it with eyes wide open. It does take a vew years for anything like this to get off the ground. Those vendors, like the electricians will see dividends as the festival moves out of the red. If you couldn't sustain yourself while this happens, i.e., you don't have very deep pockets, you never should have offered your services. Vendors who feel shafted have only themsleves to blame.
  8. ihatewine
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    ihatewine - January 21, 2014 9:13 pm
    How does that crow pie taste?
  9. Michael Haley
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    Michael Haley - January 21, 2014 9:23 pm
    In October, Anderson said the Expo board would not approve a contract “until we know everybody will get paid.” On Tuesday, in a phone interview, Anderson said GSF has told the Expo they intend to pay vendors, “but we can’t require it as an element of the contract” with the Expo.<<

    So, Anderson says he won't sign a contract until everyone is paid, and then he does anyway. The Expo is desperate for money and it shows. The next chapter will include blaming the city of Napa for everything that goes wrong. Well, good luck anyway.
  10. Greatywhite
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    Greatywhite - January 21, 2014 9:35 pm
    Ok, listen up folks here are a few things to digest.
    A) new company, new leaders, new ideas and way more business experience who didn't create the debt, but are stepping up to help resolve the debt.
    B) this new group doesn't need to pay the debt, they could let BR go the bankrupt route and no locals would get paid or any creditors for that matter
    C) live nation, AEG, Another Planet, Madison Capital all walked away due to the debt. These guys are paying most of the debt off and keeping it local. What's the issue with that?
    D) by keeping it local and paying off the debt our community can save face. They can keep it a unique festival that has a local spin and choose local vendors over others.
    E) I have a very good source that shared with me, it's not going to be NASCAR or Mother's Day weekend, so chill out.
    BR 2014 will happen, mistakes will be made, but I will support the new business investors who have stepped up to resolve the debt and provide another wonderful music festival.
  11. Jmberrysonoma
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    Jmberrysonoma - January 21, 2014 9:55 pm
    NASCAR weekend.. are they idiots? There is not a hotel room available for 100 miles around Napa on that weekend and ever drivin from SF to wine country that weekend? I love Bottlerock and hope it succeeds, but having it that weekend is a ridiculously bad decision.
  12. foss valley
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    foss valley - January 21, 2014 10:32 pm
    I wonder how many hotel rooms are available with nascar already in town that weekend (The largest sporting event in Northern California)
  13. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - January 22, 2014 1:36 am
    Sorry Napa. I do respect many of your comments but I disregard the rumors. Bottlerock 2013 stated that the Stones would *possibly* play BR 2013. It's all hype. Remember the contest for going in a limo to the Stones concert and all the hype about how BR 2013 might attract the Stones to playing in Napa (as though the Stones could be bought with a limo, a pretty girl and a tourist destination with a focus on wine)? Like give me a break. Senior rock stars cannot be bought with those things.

    I do know that McCartney is planning a possible concert for Candlestick in 2014 but I'm also a realist and I know a few things about the music biz. McCartney might impulsively show up with a guitar in hand for a small venue at Tahoe City but it's a BIG leap to assume he would play a mediocre, rather disorganized venue in Napa.

    This is a replay of BR 2013's manipulation. Beware.
  14. Napa Mark
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    Napa Mark - January 22, 2014 5:38 am
    What disappointing news that this neighbor-unfriendly event is coming back to be a nuisance to the surrounding homes once again. Once again, greed prevails over civility. Previously, GSF had said they would repay the 2013 debt on the condition that they are granted a 5-year contract. The article is silent on this important element. If the details are "still being hammered out," I sincerely hope that we aren't cursed for 5 years. As much as I want to see the vendors repaid, shame on the Expo Board for bringing back Bottlerock.
  15. Napa
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    Napa - January 22, 2014 6:48 am
    Appreciate your comments "vocal-de-local". You're right. a big act like McCartney wouldn't play something smaller like BR. although these guys taking over BR have booked him in the past thus the rumor. I am happy to say that there is a surprise at this year's Grammys. Ringo and McCartney have agreed to play this year. It's only too sad that Lennon and Harrison won't join them one do to a deranged individual and the other killed by years of smoking. I love the Beatles and only realize now like all of us, that the dream is indeed over forever due to the demise of 2 Beatles. I do again hope BR in reality will be another smash this year and all in attendance will have a great time, and Rock on to whatever acts they can book. Thanks again I truly appreciate your kind comments correcting my over reactive mind! :)
  16. Old Time Napkin
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    Old Time Napkin - January 22, 2014 7:07 am
    Anybody want to bet that last years vendors "come up short" and are not paid for the past debt? Mr. Anderson appears to have a credibility issue by not requiring last years vendors to be paid before signing the contract..
  17. Oldtimenapan
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    Oldtimenapan - January 22, 2014 7:53 am
    Yea!! Can't wait, it will be a blast.
  18. furray
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    furray - January 22, 2014 8:50 am
    Great news!
  19. valley native
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    valley native - January 22, 2014 9:11 am
    If this is going to happen, and obviously it very well might, lets be positive and make it another great experience for Napa. Last year was so much fun and each year will be better. Embrace it or be miserable. Yeah NASCAR weekend might be tough although folks will get here and stay here which is good for Napa businesses. And for the ding dong that thinks it is all about groupies - please. There are easier less expensive ways for that kinda fun. You just go enjoy NASCAR and we will enjoy the most fun Napa has seen in a very long time.
  20. catstew2
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    catstew2 - January 22, 2014 9:28 am
    Woo hoo!
  21. napa1957
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    napa1957 - January 22, 2014 9:55 am
    I thought it was an odd comment from the Union who just wants their members to "get back to work" and have agreed to work with the new promoters, despite the loss of significant wages from the first go-around, and no guarantee of being paid. I guess there isn't a lot of work for these guys?
    I hope it goes well. We should get a confirmation on the dates asap...need to plan ahead!
  22. Zinful1Napa
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    Zinful1Napa - January 22, 2014 10:01 am
    I have a feeling you might feel different if it was you who "invested" in this scheme!
  23. Buzz
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    Buzz - January 22, 2014 10:01 am
    BR works like this. Organizers pocket the profits, then short change the vendors and other contractors, and later declare bankruptcy. They pay only bills that must pay to continue. The fans get their music, the area restaurants, hotels, wine merchants, and paid parking make oodles of money. The traffic-burdened and noise-challenged public be damned, this is about making money. Elected leaders love the sales tax revenue windfall. After bankruptcy, another group buys the rights to the trademark and does it all over again. The only way to break the cycle is for local vendors and contractors to just say no. City emergency services aren't obligated to serve the event and they can also say no. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. BTW, I love the music and performances, and know it comes at a significant cost.
  24. selim_sivad
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    selim_sivad - January 22, 2014 11:27 am
    Good news. Now, get your liquor license ahead of time, GSF...let's see if you can learn from the mistakes of the previous owners.
  25. PF
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    PF - January 22, 2014 12:02 pm
    1)Thanks to my Napa Valley Register Croweheads for letting me stay at their house- i could have never afforded or FOUND a place to stay N Volunteered for Medical! 2)My co-workers in the Union STILL haven't gotten paid for their work-SHAMEFULL! 3) BR Never considered the harm the dust & sun caused many patrons- SHOULD HAVE WATERED DOWN THE DIRT AT NITE TO PREVENT IRRITATION! never have I had sooo many patrons ask for allergy medicine because of it!(1st time users) 4)SOOO many stubbed feet too! I can see why- the curbs, the steel posts laying on the ground u had to walk over! 5)Need MORE shaded areas! 6) The Stealing that went on at the bars WAS SHAMEFULL! REALLY? You mean I can just walk up with a backpack & say I'm here to collect the bar money & run off & hire a manager that was ALREADY FIRED B4 FOR Stealing at another event! WOW!!! 7) hire more than one caterer & Cindy Pawlcyn was Only for the musicians & She had Booths there too! What the workers are chopped liver!
  26. PF
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    PF - January 22, 2014 12:16 pm
    8) Have the ONLY STATIONARY RESTROOMS with a huge sign NOT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC after walking all the way down to the end by medical!!! 9)NO ON THE Mothers Day weekend or any other major event or holiday weekend!! We LIKE it IN MAY but not that weekend!! No NASCAR Weekend Thanks!! 10) I am GLAD I declined to work for pay & stayed with my volunteering!! I Had so much Fun Seeing all my favorite bands and helping the public! & our Campsite deal was GREAT! They had lots of room for more campers tho! But That is what happens when you take on a project bigger than you can handle! The SMART ones start off small & work their way up! And Having ALL The Major Popular SUPER Expensive Bands all at once Leaves Nothing to look Forward To!! PEACE & GOOD LUCK BR! LETS SEE IF YOU CAN FIND ANYONE TO PUT UP YOUR STAGES!! PAY EVERYONE BACK!! PLEASE!!!!
  27. Scott B
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    Scott B - January 22, 2014 12:36 pm
    BottleRock will need to prove that this concert is not just for the 1%. They will need to prove that this concert is for the 99%. Not paying bills to local companies is a huge issue for locals in the valley. I hope that the county, city, Napa Valley Expo board, neighbors, and concert promoters can work together soon and often to make sure this is something that everybody can be proud about.
  28. Livingthedream
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    Livingthedream - January 22, 2014 12:47 pm
    Woo HOO!
  29. Abouttime
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    Abouttime - January 22, 2014 3:10 pm
    Lets try and do this so everyone can understand this.

    1) Bob Vogt is an awful businessman. In fact, everything he touches fails. HOWEVER, he is a man of vision. His vision made this happen. All the wannabes now involved have no idea and don't have the balls to do what he did.

    2) Live Nations and others looked at this in the context of the City, all the players and the debts and potential lawsuits etc. They passed. They are a five billion dollar public company and know what they are doing.

    3) The later it goes, the more it competes with other festivals. That's a problem. Acts will go with the older more established festivals.

    4) It worked last time because everyone was so naive. Once you get the City and electeds and too many cooks involved, it's dead. The energy and excitement will be gone!

    5) The bands were massively overpaid last time. If they are overpaid again, up front, and all the old debts are paid, it cannot pencil out.

    This is an adolescent pipe dream.
  30. Bauhausfan
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    Bauhausfan - January 23, 2014 11:43 am
    His fee to play costs a fortune.
  31. Bauhausfan
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    Bauhausfan - January 23, 2014 11:52 am
    They are going to get paid in full that is why they will work on the 2014 event. He just didn't say it.
  32. Bauhausfan
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    Bauhausfan - January 23, 2014 11:57 am
    I had no idea it took "vision" and "balls" to create an event and when it is done you owe millions of dollars, get sued and counter sue others.

    Who knew?

  33. Caribfan
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    Caribfan - January 23, 2014 2:34 pm
    I agree and applaud A) through E).
  34. glenroy
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    glenroy - January 24, 2014 12:00 pm
    The backers are the real deal this time around...very deep pockets...lot'a soup in the kitchen as they use to say in the biz....
  35. br2014
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    br2014 - January 24, 2014 11:37 pm
    Umm, the point is, Mr. Bauhausfan, that before BottleRock no one ever seriously imagined that there would ever be a real rock-and-roll music festival in the middle of stodgy old downtown Napa. Except Bob Vogt.. He saw the possibilities and made it happen despite all the huge roadblocks that naysayers threw up in front of them. If that isn't vision and balls, I don't know what is.
    A majority of the debt is due to trusting people too much. There are a lot of character flaws that are much worse than being too trusting...i.e. buzzkill Abouttime's comments that "it worked last time because everyone was so naïve...the energy and excitement will be gone." I think that the "woo hoo" and "can't wait it'll be a blast" commenters above would disagree with you.
    Life should be about joy, not fear.
  36. freeport56
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    freeport56 - January 25, 2014 9:49 am
    Nice way of twisting the 'FACTS', Mike. The Expo CANNOT DO BUSINESS with an organization or individual who owes it money. Now that GSF has the BRF name, it has paid the outstanding bill due the Expo from the 2013 Festival. The Expo has been made whole and can do business with GSF/Latitude.

    Attend a meeting once in a while....
  37. Napa81
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    Napa81 - January 25, 2014 4:30 pm
    BR2013 never stated that the Rolling Stones played. If you truly "disregard rumors", then you should have disregarded this one. Also, don't forget that McCartney played OutsideLands 2013, so it's not out of the range of possibility for him to play BottleRock.
  38. Napa81
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    Napa81 - January 25, 2014 4:35 pm
    Joe Anderson is not the Expo Board, and the Expo Board has no authority or jurisdiction to dictate what any business can do. The Board did recognize, however, that the best chance any vendor had of getting paid, in part or in full, was to move forward with GSF. I applaud them for doing the right thing.
  39. Napa81
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    Napa81 - January 25, 2014 4:37 pm
    Buzz, you clearly haven't been paying attention. With debts surpassing $5.5M, where exactly are these profits the organizers pocketing coming from?
  40. lbm
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    lbm - January 26, 2014 7:07 am
    I still haven't been paid for working the festival. For 8 days.
  41. Napa81
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    Napa81 - January 26, 2014 8:53 am
    If you think Bob Vogt was the vision behind BottleRock, you are mistaken.
  42. br2014
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    br2014 - January 29, 2014 1:00 am
    I know for a fact that Bob Vogt was the vision behind BottleRock because I personally witnessed the birth. If someone has told you differently, then they're lying to you. Consider the source...and their motivations.
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