Music festivals have not had a great year so far in 2017. With a certain festival going through their lawsuit ordeal, there is yet another festival that is making waves. Pemberton Festival, a national music event held every year for the past four years in Canada, is on their second week of crisis mode. Notices have been put up on the festival’s website issuing that the July 13-16 event had been cancelled and refunds were currently unavailable. Sound familiar?
Huka Entertainment, a production company that was signed on to host the music event has started to lay off employees according to Billboard by company officials. CEO Evan Harrison told Billboard that “We had layoffs to scale down appropriately.” Harrison, alongside his partner, A.J. Niland are trying to keep their professional reputations intact as the Pemberton Festival goes through bankruptcy court. In the previous week, the company behind the festival had filed for bankruptcy in Canadian court.
The firm that has taken on the case, Ernst & Young, has released a “credit card contact sheet” basically instructing fans to start charging back the purchase to their credit cards. Pemberton ticketing partner Ticketfly sold about $6 million worth of tickets in the two weeks the music event was on sale. The money was then transferred to Twisted Tree Circus, a company run by Huka Entertainment, as well as 1115666, run by investors of Pemberton, Amanda Girling, the president of the company that owns the land as well as Canadian mining executive James Dales with the firm Procon.
Both Dales and Girling had no comment but their attorney, William Skelly said that Twisted Tree was removed from the group controlling the festival on April 19th.
With the bankruptcy in place, those with tickets already in their hands for the music festival are in for a long wait to find out if a refund is in their future. As of May 18th, ticket holders were told that there is no automatic refunds.
There is an abundance of money being owed to a variety of creditors including about $3.6 million and $13.2 million. Rather taking another big hit, the organizers of the festival decided to file bankruptcy two weeks after putting tickets on sale.
Outraged toward the decision to file bankruptcy, Marc Geiger gave a statement to Billboard Magazine in a recent article by National Post. His feelings towards the bankruptcy of the Pemberton Festival and had this to say about it; “They should not be able to run away from this. You can’t do this much damage to the festival ecosystem and think you can get away with it.” Geiger, who is a music mogul and is a partner and head of WME which represents the bands that were set to perform at the festival. These bands included; Haim, Big Sean and Tegan and Sara. Geiger was outraged toward the decision to file bankruptcy before refunds could be given. “We’re weighing all of our options and plan to pursue whatever legal avenues are available to us.”
For more information and an official statement from the festival, check out their website here.