Administrators of a Dixie College in St. George, Utah have pulled the plug on a April 2 concert featuring Cypress Hill and the Murder City Devils, prompting the event's promoter to file a federal lawsuit against the school.
Lawyers for the promoter, Soularium Music, filed a suit on Wednesday in the Federal District Court in Salt Lake City, claiming that the abrupt cancellation violated first amendment rights of assembly and free speech.
Soularium is also suing the community college for breach of contract, and is seeking a restraining order to keep the school from blocking the concert, slated for Dixie College's 4,500-seat capacity Burns Arena.
According to Mark Petersen, Dixie College's director of public relations, the school decided against hosting the show because of security issues caused by the influx of some 10,000 students into St. George, a popular destination for spring breakers from nearby schools in Utah and Nevada over Easter weekend.
officer in the area is contracted to help monitor the crowd expected to descend upon St. George Boulevard that weekend," Petersen said, "so it absolutely became an issue of whether we could provide enough security here during that same time."
Petersen also noted that the lack of available security guards had already prompted the local city council to cancel another concert, a Battle of the Bands that was supposed to take place on the college's rodeo grounds.
But Soularium President Mark Cromer contends that he had arranged for a private security firm out of Salt Lake City to handle the event, and instead believes that the attempted cancellation has more to do with certain officials' problems with headliner Cypress Hill.
"I had heard that the local police chief had expressed concerns to Dixie College about Cypress Hill coming to St. George, and that the president of the school wanted to cancel the show because it fell over Easter," Cromer said, "but they didn't actually
renege until Monday."
Cromer says that the cancellation caught him by surprise, but is confident that the show will go on as scheduled. "As far as I'm concerned," he said, "we're going to plan and promote the concert as if it's going to happen until some court tells us no."
Representatives of Cypress Hill had no comment about the pending suit.