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Festival company collapse leaves acts owed more than $1.1 million

World News
January 2, 2019

UNITED KINGDOM              

Artistes such as London Grammar and Plan B are among artistes owed the most from the collapse of the companies behind 40,000-capacity Bestival and sister event Camp Bestival (cap. 25,000), which went into administration in September with debts of £5.8 million ($7.36m).

In total, more than 160 live artistes and DJs are owed over £870,000 ($1,1m). They are among 475 businesses and individuals left out-of-pocket. London Grammar is owed £175,000 ($222,000), Plan B has lost £105,000 ($133,000), with other business creditors including AP Security owed £334,839 ($424,000), Dorset Police £121,103 ($153,000) and charity Oxfam £26,054 ($33,000).

The festival brands, purchased from the administrator for £1.1m ($1.4m) by the secured creditor who put the companies into administration, The Richmond Group (see Audience issue 226), were then sold for the same sum to MAMA Festivals, a subsidiary of LN-Gaiety, a joint venture between Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) and Gaiety Investments, a company owned by LNE non-executive chairman Denis Desmond and wife Caroline.

MAMA Festivals owns 75% of the new Bestival business, but it is not known who owns the remaining 25 per cent.

Some creditors have reacted angrily to the festival brands’ rescue and announcement of artistes for next year’s Camp Bestival, among them Jess Glynne, The Human League and Sister Sledge.

Joe Byrne of T&L Marquees, owed £31,837, says he was “devastated” by the loss. “It’s changed how we approach festivals,” he says. “We do about three festivals a year and from now on we’ll charge 100 per cent upfront.”

LN-Gaiety, also owns Festival Republic, promoter of events such as the Reading (90,000) and Leads (80,000) festivals.

LNE/LN-Gaiety declined to comment.

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