Supreme Court Takes Up Slayer Suit Against Secret Solstice Festival

slayer lawsuit secret solstice iceland

Iceland’s Supreme Court has accepted an appeal by American thrash metal band Slayer against the organisers of the Secret Solstice festival.

Slayer performed at the 2018 festival and allege that they were never paid for their performance.

In a 2020 ruling, organisers of Secret Solstice were ordered by a Reykjavík district court to pay a sum of ISK 20 million (USD 138,900; EUR 143,800) to Slayer. Despite some ambiguity in communications regarding the payment, it was determined that Slayer should be compensated with the personal assets of the organisers.

Read more: Former Secret Solstice Organiser Bankrupt

However, earlier this year, the decision was revisited by the National Court, which then acquitted Live Events, the former organisers.

With the former organisers in bankruptcy, representatives from Slayer have claimed that assets were misused during the bankruptcy, and that there is precedent for payment obligation in such cases. After the festival’s bankruptcy, it was sold to several different legal entities. Confusion arose after public statements by one of the directors of Live Events, which claimed that all debts would be settled. Now, the Supreme Court of Iceland is taking up the case.

Central to the case is whether the statement in question was general in nature, or whether it constituted a binding contract.

The Supreme Court has taken up the case partly because it believes that the case will have broader importance in setting precedent in cases of payment obligation with multiple debtors.

Former Secret Solstice Organiser Bankrupt

Secret Solstice - Laugardalur - tónlist - tónlistarhátíð

Solstice Productions, the association that organised Reykjavík’s Secret Solstice Festival between 2014-2018, has been put into liquidation, RÚV reports. The ruling was made in Reykjavík District Court on May 27. The company made headlines last year for owing the City of Reykjavík and past performers, including the band Slayer, which had sued organisers after only receiving partial payment for performing at the festival.

In April 2019, it was reported that Solstice Productions owed the City of Reykjavík and other parties a total of ISK 42.5 million ($354,000/€314,000), a debt that the capital’s district commissioner had unsuccessfully attempted to recover four times. Icelandic rap collective Reykjavíkurdætur also blasted the festival last year for failing to pay them and then asking them to perform for free the following year. Earlier this year, Friðrik Ólafsson, Solstice Productions’ CEO, was sentenced to pay Slayer around ISK 20 million ($149,000/€132,000).

Festival’s New Organisers Planning 2021 Edition

The company Lifandi Viðburðir ehf. bought the Secret Solstice Festival trademark in 2018 and held the 2019 edition of the festival. The 2020 edition of the festival was postponed until next year due to the COVID-19 epidemic. A representative of Lifandi Viðburðir states that company has settled with all Icelandic artists that previously performed at the festival, including Reykjavíkurdætur.

Note: A former version of this article incorrectly stated that Secret Solstice Festival was bankrupt. It is the festival’s former organiser, Solstice Productions, which is bankrupt.