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Dogwood Arts sues to end relationship with Rhythm & Blooms partner

The festival alleges its 2019 contract with Attack Monkey Productions is flawed and illegal.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — A dispute over compensation is prompting Dogwood Arts to try to cut ties with the music promoter that helps put on the annual Rhythm & Blooms Festival.

Dogwood Arts Festival Inc. filed suit Sept. 10 against Chyna Brackeen and Attack Monkey Productions in Knox County Chancery Court. Brackeen is president of Attack Monkey, which secures musical talent for the spring event.

Rhythm & Blooms observed its 10-year anniversary this year. Brackeen has long been involved in promoting and helping bring musical acts to the event.

Dogwood Arts wants a chancellor to invalidate the 2019 agreement it signed with Attack Monkey and halt further relations.

Dogwood Arts alleges this year's agreement is flawed and illegal.

Efforts to reach Brackeen were unsuccessful.

The parties have traditionally agreed that Attack Monkey would be paid a contract fee "with further compensation to be paid from a portion of the net profits from the RNB Festival," Dogwood's lawsuit states.

"The relationship between the parties has been contentious for several years due to previous contract negotiations," according to the complaint.

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This May's event proved especially successful, featuring such acts as Tyler Childers and Dawes.

The 2019 agreement was signed in July 2018.

"As with previous years, (Brackeen) and AMP were to receive a contract fee and a portion of the net income from the RNB Festival," the lawsuit states.

Credit: WBIR
A child reacts to a bass player at this May's Rhythm N Blooms Festival.

The agreement, however, also included this language: "Pay AMP 30% of 2019 RNB gross income after $100,000 deduction of agreed staff expenses."

Dogwood Arts argues it didn't mean for Brackeen to get part of the "gross income."

According to Dogwood Arts, it and Attack Monkey now differ on what their agreement actually means.

Dogwood Arts alleges the contract as signed by Brackeen and Sherry Jenkins, executive director of Dogwood Arts, isn't enforceable or legal.

Dogwood doesn't agree to what Attack Monkey thinks the contract says, according to the lawsuit.

Furthermore, Dogwood can't as a non-profit agree to profit-sharing as reflected in the contract.

"The 2019 Agreement is void as it is prohibited by statute. Under (federal law), in order for a non-profit corporation to remain a non-profit corporation, the organization cannot share net earnings with private individuals," the lawsuit states.

Dogwood Arts wants to negate Attack Monkey's option to be part of the 2020 festival. It also "requests this honorable court to enjoin the defendant from interfering with the 2020 Rhythm N' Blooms Festival and all future Rhythm N' Blooms Festivals," the lawsuit states.