Cast Away Competition

Festival feud

The executive director of “The Nantucket Wine & Food Festival,” Nancy Bean, has filed a lawsuit in US District Court and is asking for a trial by jury.  Bean’s event has run since 1996, every year during the third week of May.  The focus of the lawsuit involves the discovery of an announcement that Gordon Companies Inc. will be hosting a similar event next year under the name “The Nantucket Food and Wine Experience.”  Although the names of the two events are undeniably comparable, the crux of the legal issue extends far beyond this matter. 

Bean argues that the competing company is not only holding the event next year during the exact five days in May that were usually reserved for the prior event, but the company is also using the location that Bean’s festival has used for ten years, the White Elephant hotel.  While these details are a cause for concern, Bean claims that the true deceit and misleading behavior of the competing company derives from the announcement of the event.  In a statement that has since been rescinded, Gordon Companies Inc. alleges that the new festival, “The Nantucket Food and Wine Experience,” is a rebranding effort intended through the new ownership of the long-running festival.

According to Bean, this announcement is fictitious and aims to ride on the coattails of success from the previous festival.  Consistently, Bean’s event attracts 4,000 visitors to the island and entices them to partake in “world-class cuisine and exceptional wines.”  By providing a strong revenue stream, the festival has shown exceptional contribution to the island’s tourism industry.  In the lawsuit, Bean is asking Gordon Companies Inc. to acknowledge that its prior media statements were false and that its new festival will not be held on the same dates, at the same location, as her event.  Gordon Companies Inc. has since denied affiliation with Bean’s event.