Two of the UK’s biggest music festivals are under threat after a major stakeholder placed the company behind them into administration.
Administration notices were filed at the High Court for Bestival and Camp Bestival, which were founded in 2004 by BBC Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank.
The notices were filed by millionaire tycoon James Benamor, a self-confessed former ‘petty criminal’, who loaned Bestival £1.6million in February last year and subsequently took control of some festival assets as part of the deal.
Thousands of people who have already bought their tickets for the events in 2019 are now expressing fears they may be left out of pocket.
Administration notices were filed at the High Court for Bestival (pictured this year) and Camp Bestival
Bestival and Camp Bestival were founded in 2004 by BBC Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank (pictured)
Mr Benamor, a father of eight, has amassed an estimated £380million.
At 21 he set up a money lending firm, Richmond Group, from his Bournemouth kitchen, offering loans to people refused credit.
The 41-year-old also owns Amigo Loans, which is now of the country’s biggest guarantor loan companies.
The Dorset businessman took control of some festival assets as part of the deal in February and his company Richmond Group Debt Capital filed the administration notices at Companies House last week.
More than 50,000 people flocked to Bestival in July at Lulworth Castle, Dorset, to see headliners likes London Grammar, Giles Peterson, Faithless, First Aid Kid and MIA.
But thousands are still waiting for refunds after the final day was cancelled over health and safety fears as the site was hit by driving rain and gale force winds.
Administration notices were filed by millionaire tycoon James Benamor, a self-confessed former ‘petty criminal’, who loaned Bestival £1.6million in February last year and subsequently took control of some festival assets as part of the deal
More than 50,000 people flocked to Bestival in July at Lulworth Castle, Dorset – but are still waiting on refunds after the final day was cancelled
On Twitter the rapper and actor David Meads, who goes by the stage name Scroobius Pip, wrote a message of support to the festival and organisers.
He tweeted: ‘If ANYONE can turn this around it’s Rob Da Bank and his Bestival team. Bestival is without doubt my favourite festival of all time. So many memories and such a unique atmosphere. I hope, and indeed believe, that there are many more memories to come.x’
The band Kry Wolf added: ‘Hope what I just read about bestival isn’t true.’
Others who have purchased tickets for next year’s event tweeted organisers asking if they would get refunds.
Revellers are still waiting on refunds are the final day of the festival this year was cancelled
What is Camp Bestival?
Camp Bestival is the sister, family festival to music festival Bestival, which takes place on the first weekend in August.
The main festival was organised by DJ and recorder Rob da Bank and his wife as an offshoot of his record label, Sunday Best and his club nights.
The four-day festival now held in the south of England since 2017 started out as an annual event at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight.
The first ever Bestival welcomed 10,000 people which then grew to 55,000 six years later and a family friendly sister festival, Camp Bestival, was launched in 2008.
The festival has previously been held at Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight before it moved to Lulworth Castle in 2016.
Camp Bestival was held for the 11th year at the same venue in July, and saw singer-songwriter Rick Astley headline on the Castle Stage with an appearance from Mary Berry on drums.
A notice of intent to appoint administration is a document filed at court stating a company’s future plans in an attempt to save the business from liquidation.
The document can be filed by the company, its directors, or a floating charge holder, which is usually the bank.
A source close to Bestival Group said that they had experienced ‘significant financial difficulty’ this year with some reports claiming 2018 would ‘likely’ be the last year for both festivals.
The company said they wanted a ‘new partner to come on board with the financial commitments required to deliver Camp Bestival 2019’
It comes at the same time as organisers said that they were looking for new investment for Camp Bestival.
In a statement issued last night, the company said it wanted a ‘new partner to come on board with the financial commitments required to deliver Camp Bestival 2019’.
They added: ‘We can confirm the Bestival Group has had some financial challenges of late 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.
‘As we stand currently, there is every intention to make this show happen, and move forward into a new era.’
Richmond Group, Bestival Group and Rob da Bank have been contacted for further comment.