A new summer festival in Brunswick lost one of its sponsors Friday when Waterfront Concerts dropped out of the event after three breweries slated to participate objected to the company’s involvement.

The “Taste of Summer” festival in Brunswick said that Waterfront Concerts, whose owner faced a domestic violence charge, will no longer be among the sponsors of the June 22 event.

In a statement posted on the event’s Facebook page, festival organizers said the company was out as a sponsor and its name has been removed from promotional material. Waterfront Concerts had provided summer concert tickets to be given out to festival attendees. The event will be held at Brunswick Landing, the former naval air station in town.

Alex Gray Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer

Waterfront Concerts is owned by Alex Gray, who pleaded guilty in October 2017 to domestic violence assault, although he denied hitting his girlfriend in an altercation that led to the charge. A year later, he was able to withdraw the plea and the charge was dropped under an agreement with prosecutors.

Gray had signed a 22-point agreement with prosecutors, including a clause barring him from contacting his former girlfriend, in return for the charges being dropped. Prosecutors said he followed the compact for the full year.

Three breweries that had planned to participate in the festival – Black Pug Brewing, Flight Deck Brewing and Moderation Brewing – dropped out after learning that Gray’s company was involved. They said they had “zero tolerance” policies on domestic and sexual abuse in their businesses and couldn’t take part in an event backed by someone with Gray’s background.

None of the brewery owners responded to requests for comment Friday following the departure of Waterfront Concerts from the event. As of late Friday afternoon, the event’s Facebook page did not indicate if the three breweries were returning to the lineup of vendors expected at the festival.

The Taste of Summer’s statement said that organizers hoped the withdrawal of Waterfront Concerts would put the matter to rest.

“We hope that this shift will now lend focus to all of the other amazing businesses and sponsors surrounding the event,” which was its original intent, the statement said.

In the Taste of Summer statement, organizers said Waterfront Concerts was not providing any money to the festival and only the company’s marketing team was involved with organizing the festival.

Gray said Thursday night that he had approved the company’s participation in Taste of Summer, but had not been further involved. He also said at the time that the company would do whatever organizer Amanda Cahoon asked, including withdrawing the sponsorship, in order to protect the festival.

 

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