Posted by: Cory | March 15, 2009

Bluegrass Hotel Controversy – Sam Bush, Tony Rice, Ben Sollee, John Cowan are all OUT

The much anticipated upcoming Bluegrass Hotel concert has faced some significant controversy this weekend after losing several of its key musicians, including the infamous Sam Bush.  The reason?  Although never having actually contracted with Sam to perform at the festival, the organizers violated Sam’s rights of publicity by using Sam’s name and likeness without his permission, and listing him as a featured performer.  Turns out, Sam decided against participating in the festival due to substantial uncertainties in the legal and financial aspects of the festival.  As I understand it, the fact that the festival used his name as a major draw for the festival when it wasn’t even confirmed was the proverbial nail in the coffin for Sam’s participation.

Since Sam’s withdrawal, Ben Sollee, John Cowan, and Tony Rice have also withdrawn from the festival, which leaves JD Crowe, Dan Crary, Curtis Burch, Pat Flynn, Tony Williamson & Arnett Hollow.  Other performers strongly rumored to have been attending, such as Vince Gill, failed to ever confirm.  Interestingly, the Bluegrass Hotel has bitten back with a press release entitled “Newgrass Stars Jilt Major Charity”, claiming that Sam Bush was requiring a $10K payment and Tony Rice wanted $3K for the show, which wasn’t included in the original agreement.

Sam Bush is now noticeably off the newer ad, as is Ben Sollee and Arnett Hollow, so it’s unclear whether they will be performing.  All in all, what was a very exciting even with the potential to make a lot of money for some local charities seems to have really fallen apart due to some unfortunate mismanagement and failure to secure agreements with the artists.



  1. YIKES, guess I won’t be seeing this after all

  2. Ouch! Really sorry to hear that this event – which I had on my calendar – fell apart. Great idea, poor execution. Thanks for the scoop.

  3. the WFPK Live Lunch has been called off completely

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