Moog reportedly being sued over the cancellation of Moogfest 2020

UG Strategies, which organised prior Moogfests, claims its contract to organise the festival through to 2020 was wrongfully terminated.

Moogfest 2014

Photo: Alicia Funderburk / Getty

In December 2019, Moog announced it was cancelling Moogfest 2020 due to “logistical reasons” – now the company is reportedly being sued by the agency attached to organise the show.

According to Pitchfork, UG Strategies – which also organised Moogfest 2018 and 2019 – claims it had signed a three-year contract in March 2018 to run the festival through to 2020, and that Moog wrongfully terminated that agreement on 31 August 2018.
The complaint is also said to allege that Moog only paid half the sum it agreed to pay UGS for its services back in 2018. UGS is seeking damages in excess of $25,000, plus attorney fees, with its lawsuit, which was filed August 11.

Moog appears to be disputing UG Strategies’ claim. The attorney of Michael J. Adams, President and CEO of Moog Music, told Pitchfork: “It is a baseless lawsuit filed on the eve of the statute of limitations by a company who terminated the contract.”

This isn’t the first time a production company has reportedly taken legal action against Moog for its festivals in Durham, North Carolina. According to documents seen by Pitchfork, Q Level, the company which managed Moogfest 2019, filed a similar complaint in October of that year, claiming its rights to produce subsequent editions of the festival were wrongfully “revoked”.

In September 2020, Moog was said to have filed a counterclaim denying allegations of breaching contract with Q Level, with its defense claiming [via Pitchfork] that the parties “never had any agreement or expectation for [Moog] to compensate [Q Level]” and that “the parties contemplated [Q Level] would retain 100% of the profits and 100% of the losses from 2019 Moogfest.”

Moog was purportedly seeking “at least $75,000” in its counterclaim, which accused Q Level of withholding the passwords to Moog social media accounts and damaging its brand. The counterclaim was dropped on 20 October 2020 and after reaching an impasse in mediation, both parties agreed to dismiss all remaining claims on 5 April 2021.

The case comes on top of a federal gender discrimination suit filed against Moog by one of its former employees. Hannah Green, who was hired in 2018 as a sales assistant, alleged that she was “fired” from the company in August 2020 “because of her sex”.

On 14 June 2021, Moog rejected those claims as “false” in a statement, saying it had ran its “own internal investigation and found that the allegations of the accuser regarding discrimination and retaliation to be unsubstantiated.”

MusicTech has reached out to both Moog and UG Strategies for comment, at press time neither has yet responded. This is a developing story, check back for updates.