The story around recently cancelled Jabberwocky Festival is rapidly turning into a mockery. Curated by All Tomorrow’s Parties, Pitchfork and Primavera Sound, Jabberwocky was to be held August 15th and 16th in London’s Excel Centre and headlined by James Blake, Neutral Milk Hotel, Darkside and Caribou. And then an odd thing happened: the whole event was revoked by the main organizer ATP just 72 hours before its very start. The official reason was ‘poor ticket sales’, despite ATP’s tweets about tickets ‘almost sold out’ a week before the bad news.
The whole thing caused a storm of discontent on the part of ticket sale agency and PR firm involved in the event, as well as on the part of angry and disappointed music lovers. The statements released by Dash Tickets – the party involved in the ticket distribution, and Zeitgeist PR Agency – the one promoting the event, included the accusations to ATP (Willwal Ltd) of not fulfilling its contractual obligations and preparing to legal proceedings against ATP over the cancelled festival.
However, ATP has just released another statement concerning possible legal actions against them, and no apologetic tone in it. Read the full text below:
“In the past 72 hours there have been many accusations thrown at ATP and some so vindictive that we feel it necessary to defend our position.
Firstly, the claim that ATP has received all the funds for Jabberwocky is not true. We have not received a payment from Dash for more than two months. Any advances from the sales before that, went straight into event costs such as various artist fees and venue hire. But we have not received all the funds for Jabberwocky sales from Dash, and for them to make statements on their social media saying we have in fact received all these funds is simply not true. If that was the case, then we would not have struggled to stage the event.
As per their Terms & Conditions at the time Jabberwocky went on sale, we were always under the impression that in the event of a cancellation; all refunds would be processed by Dash, as the funds were sent directly to Dash’s PayPal account – not ATPs. Since then, Dash’s Terms & Conditions have changed on their website without our knowledge, well after Jabberwocky was on-sale, in an attempt to reflect no responsibility for the payments accepted into their PayPal account.
We know you are angry, and quite rightly so as you are hearing contradictory information concerning the source of your refunds – we are NOT trying to pass the buck, but any funds we did receive from Dash are tied up in the cancelled event and we too have lost considerable amounts of money. But we are petitioning Dash and working closely and restlessly with Paypal to ensure all customers receive their full due amount.
Secondly, the PR firm we originally engaged for Jabberwocky, Zeitgeist, felt it was necessary to announce to the world that they were taking legal action against us. What they neglected to mention was that we actually terminated their services for doing a disappointingly substandard job on the Jabberwocky press campaign and are in a legal dispute with them over the amount owed. When we dismissed them, they also started circulating rumours that Jabberwocky was in trouble, which of course did not help with advance sales and unfortunately, became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We are trying to get everyone refunded as soon as possible and honour all bands agreements. We have tried to assist in organising shows this weekend so all the door money goes to the artists to help pay their fee due for Jabberwocky and ensure that they are not out of pocket. The rumours that we stopped a band from playing a show because of a contractual obligation is also untrue. They assure us that they had not confirmed a show with another venue and were happy to book a show assisted by us in order to help secure their immediate expenses for the weekend and go towards the original fee that they were offered, which is being honoured.
If people want to continue slinging mud at us, we can’t stop them, but we would ask that you pause to think about what it takes for a company of our size to continue to exist in the current music climate, and question if you really believe that there was some machiavellian intent to rip off music fans that we have given so many years of our life to, whilst trying to survive and deliver quality shows. If anyone out there says they believe in what we do; now is the time to support us more than ever, rather than letting others try and kick us while we are down.
We are devastated the event didn’t happen. It has always been a dream to finally get together two of our long time friends – Pitchfork & Primavera – and Jabberwocky was to be this dream realised. We have all worked tirelessly for almost a year on this, and so of course, tried absolutely everything in our power to stage it right up to the very moment that there were no options left other than this absolute last resort.”
The respond on the statement from Zeitgeist Agency did not take long:
“It’s good of ATP to finally respond on this matter. It would appear that our company, the ticketing agency, all suppliers and all the disappointed fans were wrong about Willwal Ltd. Even their partners have distanced themselves from the situation. This is a matter for the courts now but we are sure the overwhelming recent media coverage and ongoing investigations will ensure the good will out. – Jamie Stockwood Founding Partner – The Zeitgeist Agency Ltd”
Well, it’s clear that Zeitgeist and ATP are going to court, but as for Dash and ATP, nothing is certain, especially around the matter of cash flow, meaning the main question – where have all the money gone. Undoubtedly, we’ll keep you up to date with this fascinating story.
Meanwhile, many of Jabberwocky scheduled artists will play alternate shows in London this weekend, including Neutral Milk Hotel, Deafheaven, Kurt Vile, and more. The Van Pelt were earlier announced as not able to play an alternative show due to ‘contractual obligations with ATP’; however, now they are claimed as the part of The Shacklewell Arms in Hackney Downs, London, on Saturday (August 16) alongside Metz and Iceage.