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More than £870,000 owed to over 160 artistes

18 December 2018

Creditors fury as new Camp Bestival announces acts

PAPERS PREPARED by the administrator for the collapsed companies behind this years 40,000-capacity Bestival and Camp Bestival (cap. 25,000) show that more than 160 live artistes and DJs are owed a combined figure of over £870,000.

Between them the operating companies behind the events had debts totaling £5.8 million when they were forced into administration.

Among the artistes owed money are London Grammar due £175,000, Plan B (£105,000) and dozens of DJs owed varying sums. Those owed the least included Mellah, Fuzzy Blood and Martello, each due £125.

Among the 475 businesses and individuals worst hit are AP Security, which is owed £334,839, Dorset Police (£121,103), LiveTrackway (£83,047), SC Productions (£40,624), Continental Drifts (£33,600) and charity Oxfam (£26,054), with several hundred creditors owed under £2,000.

The festival brands, purchased from the administrator for £1.1m by the secured creditor who put the companies into administration, The Richmond Group (see LIVE UK issue 226), using newly-formed company Safe Festivals Group Ltd (SFG).

Within a month, 75 per cent of SFG was sold to MAMA Festivals Ltd (MFL)  for the same sum. MFL is a subsidiary of MAMA & Company, which is 75 per cent owned by LN-Gaiety (LNG), a joint venture between Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) and Gaiety Investments, a company owned by LNE non-executive chairman Denis Desmond and his wife Caroline.

It is not known who owns the remaining 25 per cent of SFG.

At the time, Bestival and Camp Bestival co-founders Robert Gorham (aka DJ Rob da Bank) and wife Josie tweeted that Camp Bestival had been rescued by ‘Live Nation-Gaiety and SJM Concerts’. Both companies have since declined to comment.

Some creditors have reacted angrily to the festival brands’ rescue, while one vowed to change the way it operates in the festival sector, as a result of their loss.

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 can now see that the festival business model is quite volatile. We do about three festivals a year and from now on we’ll charge 100 per cent upfront.”

Sarah Cole of SC Productions was especially angry about the da Banks’ tweet (since removed), saying they were “thrilled to finally announce that they are back in control of Camp Bestival”.

For the full story, see Festival issue 36, which accompanies this LIVE UK.

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