The threat hanging over Colovray suddenly becomes clear. The owner a property developer refuses to lease his 30,000 sq. m of land for the Festival as he wants to build houses on it. His project is in contravention of certain rights belonging to a neighbouring landowner, and the project is rejected by the Nyon authorities. The ensuing arm wrestling match continues until 1988, and is punctuated by summons, court cases and rent hikes. With only a couple of exceptions (John Mayall, John B Sebastian) the 1981 festival decides to do with out big names (the discovery of the year is a certain Chris de Burgh) in order not to attract too big a crowd. A rather controversial policy, as entries are down 20% on the previous year, despite the last minute addition of Bernard Lavilliers to counter the poor advance booking figures.