Promoter Of Milwaukee Metalfest Sues Wisconsin Over Site Denial

Claims state refused show featuring Misfits, Cradle of Filth, Bludgeon to Death, Anal Blast partly because of bands' names.

A Milwaukee concert promoter is charging that Wisconsin officials have pulled out of

their contract to host Metalfest XIII on state grounds because of the controversial nature

of some of the 160 groups scheduled to play the July 30–31 show.

"To deny us based on bandnames and the type of music is a violation of your rights, my

rights and everybody's rights," said Jack Koshick, owner of Jack Koshick Presents, which

is staging the headbanger smorgasbord.

Koshick has filed a breach-of-contract suit to force the state to allow the event at State

Fair Park in Milwaukee. He said he had an oral agreement from state officials to host the

fest, along with agreements on rental fees, merchandise fees, blueprints for the concert

site and other details.

Mark Bugher, secretary of the state Department of Administration, said the state can't

host the event that weekend because it would not have enough time to prepare the park

for the Wisconsin State Fair, which begins Aug. 4.

Bugher called "ridiculous" any claim that bands' names or their reputations for extreme

behavior or music were involved in the state's decision not to allow the event.

Among the metal and punk bands slated to play the Milwaukee show are the Misfits

— whose American Psycho (1997) includes "Speak of the Devil" (RealAudio excerpt) —

Earth Crisis, Neurosis, Cradle of Filth and D.O.A., as well as scores of lesser-known

groups such as Anal Blast, Bongzilla, Death Kids, Jungle Rot, Waco Jesus, Dying Fetus

and Bludgeon to Death.

A column in Monday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel citing unnamed friends

and associates of Bugher said he was "horrified" by the names of the Metalfest

groups. On Thursday, Bugher refused to say that was inaccurate but maintained the story

was "undocumentable."

Bugher would not comment on the legitimacy of Koshick's contract claim, calling that a

matter for a court to decide.

Dane County Circuit Judge Gerald Nichol will hear the case Friday (July 16) afternoon.

Koshick said he was given no reason for the state's decision not to allow the event when

he received the news by telephone June 29. "Basically, we're being stonewalled," he

said.

He said he based his belief that the event was denied because of the bands involved on

the Journal Sentinel article as well as word-of-mouth accounts from friends in

Madison, the state capital.

"He has no basis for making such an allegation," said Bugher, who described himself as

a "flower child of the '60s."

Tickets for Metalfest have already gone on sale, according to Koshick.

"None of these people are educated on what [Metalfest] is all about," he said. "They don't

have a clue."

"I want parents whose kids listen to metal to ask themselves: Are your kids evil or just

trying to express themselves?" Koshick said.