Bruce Flax, president of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, said he was surprised that a “behemoth” – a subsidiary of a multinational corporation – had targeted his organization in legal action.
Coachella music festival organizer AEG Worldwide sent a cease and desist letter last week, giving the chamber a week to change the name of the annual Floatchella festival from Mystic.
Founded in 2020, the Mystic event invites the public to a “pop-up paddle-craft only on the Mystic River rally” every summer; this year’s event will take place on August 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. It has drawn around 300 kayaks and other boats to the Mystic River since its inception, not to mention the hundreds of people who watch and listen to the live music from land.
“The Floatchella started in 2020 from COVID, we were trying to have a safe event where the chamber could partner with downtown merchants as no one was going downtown at the time,” said Flax Saturday. “We imagined this outdoor and safe event. It’s really fun, it’s a nice community event, so for the monster to come after us, they must have better things to do than that.
Although the Mystic event is small compared to California’s two-weekend arts and music festival in April that draws around 250,000 attendees a year, Flax noted that AEG routinely takes legal action against perceived threats against its brand. According to celebrityaccess.com, a news site for entertainment professionals, “By failing to enforce their rights against an alleged infringement, a trademark owner may face a weakening of trademark legal protections in future cases by a loss of distinctiveness of the mark.”
For example, Coachella organizers filed a trademark infringement lawsuit last year for a New Year’s Eve event named Coachella Day One 22 and produced by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians in California, the Desert newspaper reported. Sun.
AEG could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
Flax and the chamber decided not to fight AEG’s cease and desist order. “We don’t have the money to fight them, and some friends in the bedroom looked into it, and they told me that AEG does it a lot, and they win a lot, so that was something that, we have such a great year coming to the chamber, that we don’t really have time for that,” he said.
The community event formerly known as Floatchella will now be called “Float Fest, Music on the Mystic River”. But Flax said the chamber is open to other ideas, so people with clever name recommendations — which preferably don’t invite legal action — can send them to email@example.com.
AEG’s move means that merchandise bearing the word Floatchella can no longer be sold.
“We had products that we were going to use this year, so we’ll have to cancel them,” Flax said. “I’m not going to throw it away, I think we’ll probably give it away. There aren’t many things, it’s limited, which is good, we didn’t overbought.
Flax explained his initial surprise when he learned of the cease and desist letter.
“We are a non-profit organization, the Floatchella we do is not confused with Coachella at all, and I felt like it was a bunch of costumes trying to figure out how to justify their salary,” did he declare.