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Parties settle in legal dispute over Pittsburgh music festival

The inaugural Maple House Music & Arts Festival drew about 7,500 to Hartwood Acres.
Maddy Lafferty
Keystone Artist Connect
The inaugural Maple House Music & Arts Festival drew about 7,500 to Hartwood Acres.

A Pittsburgh-based record label owned by billionaire Thomas Tull and a Cleveland-based events company have ended their legal dispute over last year’s Maple House Music & Arts Festival.

On Monday, Maple House Records and Elevation Festivals filed a “stipulation of dismissal of entire case” in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The litigation over the one-day festival, which took place in May, at Hartwood Acres, began in December. Maple House sued Elevation, claiming the Cleveland company had gone far over budget for the event without permission and then wrongfully held on to more than $500,000 in revenue.

Days later, Elevation filed a counterclaim, alleging that the festival’s budget had risen from less than $1.3 million to about $1.8 million because the event, at Maple House’s insistence, had greatly grown in size. Elevation also said Maple House still owed it more than $260,000 in unpaid fees for the project.

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Tull is a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers whose band, Ghost Hounds, performed at the festival along with headliners Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit and Black Pumas.

The brief “stipulation” filing of Feb. 6 did not include any mention of a settlement.

“We reached an amicable resolution of the matter,” Elevation president Denny Young wrote in an email.

Maple House did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

At least one party in the now-settled dispute is planning to stage a music festival in Pittsburgh in 2023. Elevation’s WonderWorks Music Festival is slated for May 27 and 28, at Hartwood Acres. Young said the lineup will be announced later this month.

Editor’s note: WYEP was a sponsor of the Maple House Music & Arts Festival. WESA and WYEP are owned by Pittsburgh Community Broadcast Corporation.

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: