Old Settler’s festival wins injunction against Driftwood

The Old Settler’s Music Festival has been held in Texas this past 30 years, close to the state capitol in Austin. They have moved around a bit since the founding in Round Rock, held initially at the Old Settler’s Park which gave it its name. Their first move came in 2000 with two years in Dripping Spring, followed by another in 2002 to Driftwood, TX where they had been ever since.

Over the years, they have hosted a large gathering of music lovers each April, catering to the progressive bluegrass, jamgrass scene, with a strong focus on young artists.

A new site has been selected for 2018, one that the festival board had purchased and prepared for that purpose in nearby Tilmon, but they had not actually planned to move until 2019. The festival organizers received a letter back in August from the owners of the venue they had been using in Driftwood, Salt Lick BBQ, informing them that they would not be willing to host the event in 2018.

At about the same time as Old Settler’s got this notification, the board noticed a web site promoting a new festival, the Driftwood Music Festival, scheduled to be held at the Salt Lick property the same weekend that had previously been reserved each year for Old Settler’s. When the board noticed that the organizer of the new festival on their old site was their own recently resigned Director of Operations, Scott Marshall, they filed suit in Travis County District Court. The suit alleges that the Driftwood Music Festival was using trade secrets and confidential information that belonged to Old Settler’s. It also named Salt Lick’s ownership group, SJG Corp, and Ryan Brittain, who had worked as a production manager at the festival and is listed as an organizer of the new Driftwood event.

The court has now granted an injunction sought by Old Settler’s, preventing Marshall and Brittain from booking performers or selling tickets for their April 2018 festival, saying that the plaintiffs were likely to win the case on the merits. The Driftwood Music Festival has since announced that they were looking for a suitable date other than the one used by Old Settler’s, and have made a settlement offer to the Old Settler’s board.

Jean Spivey, Executive Director at Old Settler’s shared some correspondence with us indicating that Salt Lick had informed Marshall that they may not want to continue to host the festival, but that he had not shared that information with the board.

It looks like the issue of the 2018 date has been resolved by the court. Let’s hope that these two events can live together peaceably if they are both going to be held in the region.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.