Jun 26, 2024 2 min read

John Fogerty dispute in Australia should shift to California, judge rules

Former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty was booked to headline a festival in Australia. However, a month beforehand organisers withdrew their offer and demanded a $700,000 deposit be paid back. An Australian court says the dispute should now go to arbitration in the US

John Fogerty dispute in Australia should shift to California, judge rules

A legal battle between John Fogerty and festival promoter SFP Events should be resolved through an arbitrator in California, an Australian court has said. SFP is demanding the return of a $700,000 deposit paid to the musician for a planned headline performance at this year’s Country Fest Queensland that the company ultimately cancelled. 

The former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman had been booked to play his first show in Australia for more than a decade at the event. However, in February - a month before the festival - SFP withdrew its offer and cancelled Fogerty’s performance. It then sued Fogerty’s Little Swamp II company and his agent CAA for the return of the deposit.

Following requests by CAA to move the dispute to arbitration in the US, SFP had asked the Queensland Supreme Court to confirm that it had “validly withdrawn” its offer to Fogerty - maintaining that there was never any binding agreement in place. 

However, at a hearing this week, judge Rebecca Treston said that the case should instead be considered by CAA’s chosen arbitrator, as it was not clear if a deal that included an arbitration clause had been finalised when the cancellation happened.

Fogerty was approached to headline Country Fest in September last year. After rejecting an initial offer in December 2023, a deal was tentatively reached in January. This saw Fogerty promised $1.4 million, accommodations for up to 28 people, transfers to and from the venue, and a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. 

SFP seemingly signed a contract and sent the $700,000 deposit to CAA. However, Little Swamp II did not immediately sign the deal, requesting more information. As a February deadline for the remainder of the fee to be paid passed, and with Fogerty’s company still having not signed a contract, SFP cancelled the musician’s appearance.

At the time, Fogerty said in a statement that he had been “blindsided” by this move.

“I was ready to celebrate with you all for my one and only show this year in Australia when the Country Fest Queensland blindsided me yesterday by cancelling my appearance”, he wrote on Instagram. “It was posted that I would not be appearing due to unforeseen circumstances. Well, I can tell you, my friends, I was not the reason for the ‘unforeseen circumstances’”.

The festival eventually went ahead in March with Australian musician Morgan Evans headlining.

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