The Day on the Green Files: A confidentiality agreement is still in place 46 years after the backstage violence

A confidentiality agreement preventing the people involved from discussing the backstage violence that took place at the Day on the Green festival in 1977 is still in place, more than 46 years after the altercations happened.

A $50,000 settlement reached in 1978 between Led Zeppelin and the festival employees included a confidentiality agreement that is still in place in 2024, according to a lawyer who represented the employees.

Elton Blum, the California lawyer who finalised the settlement agreement on behalf of the employees and filed paperwork in December 1978 withdrawing the $2 million civil lawsuit, told LedZepNews that a confidentiality agreement was part of the settlement and is still active today.

“The matter settled with all parties being subject to a confidentiality agreement which remains in place,” Blum, who remains a practising attorney in California, told LedZepNews on June 24.

A second lawyer involved in the lawsuit declined to discuss the backstage violence and subsequent legal action with LedZepNews, citing attorney client privilege.

The continued confidentiality about the backstage violence that occurred on July 23, 1977 and the subsequent settlement comes despite the fact that only one of the seven men involved in the altercation is still alive.

Bob Barsotti, an employee of Bill Graham, continues to live in California. He was assaulted alongside Jim Matzorkis who died in 2020 and Jim Downey, who died in 2009.

The four men accused of carrying out the violence, John Bonham, Peter Grant, Richard Cole and John Bindon, have all died.

It’s possible that the confidentiality agreement also included S&L Entertainment Enterprises, the Dutch business sued in the lawsuit which employed the four members of Led Zeppelin along with Grant, their manager.

Kamer van Koophandel, the Dutch chamber of commerce, confirmed to LedZepNews that no business with that name exists in The Netherlands, meaning it’s likely the business is no longer trading.

Unsigned confidentiality agreements created by Led Zeppelin’s lawyers in December 1977 as part of negotiations for a $37,500 settlement were entered into evidence in the lawsuit the following year.

“The undersigned further warrants and represents that he will not disclose any of the facts relating to the above incident or any of the facts of the sum of money received by the undersigned in settlement of his claim to any third person other than his attorney,” the confidentiality agreements read.

The December 1977 negotiations eventually collapsed and details of the proposed $37,500 settlement were leaked to the press the following month. It’s likely that the confidentiality agreement drafted for this earlier settlement is similar to the agreement that remains in place, however,

It’s unclear how Barsotti and the other festival employees were able to discuss the violence in the 1992 book “Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out”, which was published after Graham’s death in 1991.

Barsotti, Matzorkis and Downey were all quoted in the book discussing the violence, seemingly the only time they have spoken about the incident.

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