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Bluesfest Blame “Duplicitous, Unethical, Self-Serving” Agent For Artist’s Departure

Written by James Arnold-Garvey on October 15, 2013

Byron Bay Bluesfest organisers aren’t backing down from their unusually combative stance in the wake of Jamaican ska musician Ernest Ranglin’s sudden departure from the festival and have once again come out swinging in public defense of not just their own festival, but festivals and promoters in general.

UPDATE: Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 third lineup announcement has arrived – full details here!

Contrary to Ranglin’s claims that he knew nothing about the festival, Bluesfest director Peter Noble has this afternoon released a scathing missive which calls Ranglin’s position “a complete distortion of the truth”, offering some fairly damning and comprehensive evidence which also calls into question Ranglin’s relationship with a French agent.

Ranglin was last month announced to appear at Bluesfest as part of the Jamaican Legends show, which also featured Sly & Robbie and Bitty McLean. Noble says that Ranglin was fully aware of his acceptance of a slot on the festival, presenting detailed evidence by way of a series of email correspondence between the festival, Ranglin himself as well Ranglin’s various managers and agents throughout the world, including those in New York who the festival had previously dealt with.

As a result of the negotiations and apparent confirmation of acceptance of the tour, Bluesfest announced Ranglin as part of the festival lineup which they say is a legally binding offer and acceptance of contract.

Ranglin himself recently rebuffed the festival’s speculation that he cancelled his Australian appearance to take a better offer to play elsewhere, and it now seems he was telling the truth.

Bluesfest previously claimed that Ranglin has booked clashing dates in Europe through the last in a long line of international agents, Christian Georgiadis from French firm Bacana, but Noble now says that Georgiadis is simply refusing to let Ranglin work for anyone else:

“We are now advised that Mr Georgiadis from Bacana has not procured any dates at all for Ernest Ranglin in 2013 – according to an email sighted by Mr Noble sent to him from his manager (as we see it), Mark van den Bergh.

“AND now from an email just in from Mr Georgiadis from Bacana dated October 12th 2013 – where Mr Georgiadis states there are no other dates confirmed or pencilled in at the time of Bluesfest or the tour dates around it.

“SO Ernest Ranglin has not accepted a better offer – He has NOTHING on offer from Georgiadis currently…

“Ernest Ranglin… has been treated in a duplicitous manner seemingly by the agent who is yet to get him work for a number of years – but won’t let him work for anyone else – probable fact.”

For what it’s worth, the festival seems to hold no grudge against Ranglin personal, with Noble going on to call out Georgiadis to “do the right thing” and stop “manipulating an 81-year-old man”.

The festival confirms that they are continuing to look at other options to present Sly & Robbie and Bitty McClean as part of the festival so they too aren’t left dangling after Ranglin’s sudden departure.

You can read Peter Noble’s incredibly detailed and revealing statement on the matter in full below.

Peter Noble statement re Ernest Ranglin:

“THERE SEEMS TO BE A TENDENCY IN OUR INDUSTRY TO ALWAYS BLAME THE FESTIVAL PRODUCER OR PROMOTER WHEN AN ARTIST CANCELS

The usual excuse is ‘unknown circumstances’ which ought to be listed at No 1 in the list of the greatest lies in music today.

It IS NEVER the artist or their representatives who are to blame – it is the evil promoter – that bastion of dirty deeds and rubber cheques – who, by the way, takes the risks, and, without him, our music industry would not exist.

Bluesfest is a producer of artists who will tell it like it is when artists, managers, their agents and assorted hangers on stuff up and, even more to the point, attempt to sabotage an agreed tour.

Although the ongoing is a little complicated – it is in fact VERY revealing – please read on:

Bluesfest Touring has received a number of documents recently – clearly outlining what has occurred in Ernest Ranglin’s cancellation in his participation in the Jamaican Legends Tour scheduled to play Bluesfest and tour next Easter.

We have accepted the documents under confidentiality from the sources – however – we firmly believe that a small leak of certain key details and dates will lead ANY fair person to see that:

1 Ernest Ranglin fully knew and approved for his manager and agent to proceed with the Australian tour as part of the Jamaican Legends – as per emails from them to him – as well as responses from Mr Ranglin and his wife.

2 Ernest Ranglin met with his manager(agent) in Barcelona some months ago – and approved his manager proceeding to move forward with the Australian tour confirmation – a confirmation Bluesfest received in writing in an email on Thursday August 29th at 6.11pm from the manager (agent)of Ernest Ranglin, Mark van den Bergh from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. This followed an email dated the 18th August from Eric Addeo – from AMI Agency in New York, USA (from whom Bluesfest bought the Ernest Ranglin and Monty Alexander Australian Tour in 2006,known as Rocksteady) – also confirming the tour.

3 On Thursday Aug 29th, at 6.48pm, we received another email listing the tour personnel. The personnel named Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Bitty McLean, Alex Wilson – AND Ernest Ranglin.

4 As a result of the above – Bluesfest announced the Jamaican legends on September 24 last – having received emails from both the manager and agent with a confirmation.

5 In contract law – this is called offer and acceptance – and is binding – subject to a contract being finally issued and fully executed – which both parties would expect to occur in the coming weeks.

To state that as a result of an artiste looking at the terms and conditions of the agreement BEFORE

there is any type of binding agreement is not only against the industry norm – it has been used as an excuse many times by an artist in the past not to perform – and when tested in courts – has not prevailed – it is simply not an excuse for one not to perform his duties.

An agent or manager usually confirms a performance – after having received the artist’s agreement for them to do so. THIS is what occurred in this case.

6 Bluesfest is in possession of emails From Ernest Ranglin through his wife Joan dating from before the time of the managers having the agent confirm the tour – as well as doing so himself – giving him permission to go ahead with the tour.

7 Bluesfest has also received an email dated October 7 from the Ranglins describing Mr van den Bergh as ‘MY AGENT’. Mr van den Bergh has been listed until recently on Ernest Ranglin’s website as his manager. It has been advised to us that Mark van den Bergh has acted in these capacities for many years.

8 It is clear that from the email chain that Ranglin’s statement that he was not aware of Australian bookings is a complete distortion of the truth. The emails exist – and Mr Ranglin knew about them – and gave his blessing. His wife Joan wrote the emails. I have seen them and have them in my possession. I have agreed to keep them confidential at this time.

9 This is when the agent Christian Georgiadis, from the French agency Bacana from Montferrier-sur-lez in South West France, comes in to the picture. Mr Georgiadis asked Peter Noble’s office if he would meet with him at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London in March 2013 – and Mr Noble the MD of Bluesfest met with him on Friday March 9th at 2pm at The Royal Gardens Hotel in Kensington , the site of the conference – and was pitched a number of the agency’s artists by Mr Georgiadis.

Mr Noble signalled an interest in the Jamaican Legends and Mr Georgiadis followed up with an email on March 12th 2013. He subsequently advised that Monty Alexander – the great Jamaican piano player – who he pitched initially as part of the Jamaican Legends, would no longer be a part of the Jamaican Legends Tour.

At this time, feeling uneasy, Peter Noble checked in with the agent who originally sold Ernest Ranglin (and Monty Alexander) tour dates to him for his first Australian tour (with Bluesfest plays) – Eric Addeo at AMI Agency, New York – to see whether he still represented Ernest Ranglin – and was advised ‘yes’.

10 We are now advised that Mr Georgiadis from Bacana has not procured any dates at all for Ernest Ranglin in 2013 – according to an email sighted by Mr Noble sent to him from his manager (as we see it), Mark van den Bergh.

AND now from an email just in from Mr Georgiadis from Bacana dated October 12th 2013 – where Mr Georgiadis states there are no other dates confirmed or pencilled in at the time of Bluesfest or the tour dates around it.

SO Ernest Ranglin has not accepted a better offer – He has NOTHING on offer from Georgiadis currently.

So – what do we get out of this?

The Jamaican Legends STILL want to tour – fact

Ernest Ranglin has advised he no longer is a part of the group – fact

Ernest Ranglin has no other work on offer at that time– fact

Ernest Ranglin is 81 years old – fact

Ernest Ranglin is a great musician – fact

Ernest Ranglin – has been treated in a duplicitous manner seemingly by the agent who is yet to get him work for a number of years – but won’t let him work for anyone else– probable fact

It should not be too hard to see that Mr Georgiadis has acted to manipulate and sabotage the Australian Tour of the Jamaican Legends member Ernest Ranglin EVEN THOUGH EVERYONE INVOLVED offered him 50% of the agency commission for the tour– and now with all these facts in hand – all we CAN say is that Mr Ranglin knew about the tour – gave permission for other people he described as ‘MY AGENT’ to proceed with it – and Mr Georgiadis from the French agency has blocked it for purposes which should best be described as unethical and self serving.

All we can say is:

Do the right thing Georgiadis –
Stop manipulating an 81 year old man
Stop preventing him from working

Our industry should condemn this kind of manipulation of an artist.

Meanwhile, Bluesfest and Peter Noble will continue to attempt to find a suitable replacement for Ernest Ranglin so Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare and Bitty Mclean will also not be out of pocked next Easter

As we said before – WATCH this space !!

Comment from the desk of Bluesfest Director PETER NOBLE.”

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