MORE THAN 250 creditors are owed in excess of £4.5 million by the former operator of the Preston Guildhall (cap. 2,034) and Charter Theatre (780) complex, following its collapse into administration in June.
Among the many suppliers, show productions and promoters owed money are music industry companies including Primary Talent International which is owed £20,550, Live Nation Entertainment (£10,000), and Triple A Entertainment Group (£78,000).
An act represented by Mark Lundquist Management Concerts (MLM) is owed almost £11,000 for a show that played the venue.
“The venue’s looked dodgy for a couple of years and I’m surprised the artist we handle wanted to go back,” says MLM CEO Mark Lundquist. “After the first show we did there in September 2017, we had to serve a summons to get paid and we did receive the money but it took about six months. I saw the warning signs after that.”
The complex closed its doors in May and went into administration the following month.
The venue was bought from the council for £1 in November 2014 by local businessman Simon Rigby, after he promised to redevelop and broaden its appeal.
It has since been seized by the council following claims that Rigby was trying to reopen it via another arm of his business, despite the number of claims against the venue increasing.
“Over recent weeks it has become abundantly clear that it was necessary for the City Council to intervene and regain control of the property,” says Leader of Preston City Council, Councillor Matthew Brown.
The first reported claim of non-payment was from performing arts theatre Bill Kenwright Ltd, which had alleged it had not been paid £70,000 of owed ticket revenue.
Among the other creditors listed and from the music industry are PPL, PRS, Coda Agency, AEG Live, Crosstown Concerts, Academy Music Group and Moneypenny Agency.
Non-music related companies that are owned money include Preston City Council (£360,000), HM Revenue & Customs (£364,000) and Free Trade Organisation (£625).
“As we move forward, we are putting considerable effort into supporting the re-opening and successful future of Preston Guild Hall, but can only work within the current budget position of the Council,” says Brown.
Among the artistes that have played the complex are The Cribs, The Pigeon Detectives and British Sea Power.
Preston Guild Hall and Charter Theatre remains closed.