Here Come the LouFest Lawsuits

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TODD OWYOUNG
  • TODD OWYOUNG
Some three months after the shock cancellation of the 2018 edition of LouFest just days before the event, the lawsuits have begun to roll in.

The St. Louis Business Journal reports that the Valley Park-based Logic Systems Sound and Lighting Inc., which was contracted to handle light and sound for the fest, has filed a lawsuit against Listen Live LLC, LouFest's parent company, claiming that it is down $55,082 due to the event's cancellation.

Logic Systems claims that the contract it had with LouFest had the company set to provide light and sound for all four of the fest's stages for an amount of $124,638 — but that they've yet to receive any money at all.

“It’s been radio silence,” Chip Self, vice president of engineering for Logic Systems Sound and Lighting, tells KMOV. “We received a letter from [Loufest’s] attorney that basically said they don’t have any money.”



Self claims that Listen Live still owes for past services rendered by the company as well. Logic Systems worked on June's Uncorked event at Kiener Plaza, September 2017's Faye Fest Music Festival in Fayetteville, Illinois, and August's Grub & Groove event in Francis Park. For that work, Logic Systems' suit claims the company is owed an additional $17,064.

Logic Systems is just one of many local businesses that were negatively impacted by LouFest's sudden cancellation. Numerous food vendors, breweries and musicians were left out in the cold. While ticketholders saw their money refunded, they seem to have been the only ones. That could mean this suit is just the first of many.

"No one has seen a dime," Self tells KMOV.

At the time of the fest's cancellation, Listen Live managing partner Mike Van Hee laid the blame on the weather and on recent unfavorable media coverage — specifically, a St. Louis Public Radio report that suggested vendors were not getting paid and a St. Louis Business Journal report that Van Hee's former company, which had done work for the fest, had been hit with tax liens and dissolved by the state.

In response to a request for comment, Van Hee provided RFT the following statement:

The company has recently retained counsel for this matter with Logic Systems and will file a responsive pleading setting forth its defense to the lawsuit in due course while working diligently to move forward keeping the best interests of our vendors, stakeholders and sponsors in mind.

It is unfortunate, out of the various parties affected by the cancellation of LouFest 2018, that Logic Systems has decided to seek redress through the legal system. We have been working very hard with all partners, stakeholders and vendors, many of whom are in a position similar to Logic Systems, to work towards building a path forward. This path includes resolving outstanding debts from 2018. Through their commitments and our hard work, we hope to accomplish that objective. This work continues, and we are making progress each day but I am not in a position to share any additional details at this time.

LouFest was founded by Brian Cohen in 2010. Cohen sold his stake in the festival and in Listen Live Entertainment in 2016, at which time Van Hee and his business partner Rich Toma took the helm.

[This story was updated after publication to include additional comments from Mike Van Hee.]
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