THE 40,000-capacity Bestival and its family-oriented sister event Camp Bestival (cap. 26,000), founded by Radio One DJ Robert Gorham (aka Rob da Bank) have been purchased from administration by South Coast-based The Richmond Group (TRG) for £1.1 million.
The festivals’ future came under the spotlight when the Sunday Times newspaper reported that TRG, headed by Amigo Loans billionaire James Benamor, called in a £1.6m loan to the events, forcing the Bestival Group of companies that ran the events, into administration.
Subsequently, a statement on the Bestival website stated, “We can confirm the Bestival Group has had some financial challenges but the process we are in allows a new partner to come on board with the financial commitments required to deliver Camp Bestival 2019 in its finest form.”
That statement was later taken down as The Guardian revealed that the events had been “snapped up” by Benamor for £1.1m. Administrator Begbies Traynor said they had received more than one bid for the business but TRG’s was best.
Benamor told The Guardian, “We have been fans and supporters of Bestival since the beginning. Our children have grown-up with wonderful memories of these festivals. We are keen to ensure that this fantastic institution goes on to delight families and local businesses for many years to come.”
Gorham founded Bestival in 2004 as a 55,000-capacity event on the Isle of Wight, starting Camp Bestival in 2008 at a site in Dorset. He relocated Bestival to the Dorset site in 2017, reducing capacity to 40,000.
Camp Bestival, held in July with headliners Rick Astley and Clean Bandit, had to cancel its final day, including a Simple Minds performance, due to bad weather.
Although a refund process was underway it was unclear whether ticket holders had been reimbursed before the administration.
Bestival headliners included Grace Jones and Mark Ronson. Both festivals switched to using a cashless system for the first time this year.
Some tickets to Camp Bestival 2019 had already been sold but sales are currently suspended. Neither Gorham nor Benamor responded to approaches by LIVE UK.