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Bestival founder Rob Da Bank sued over £649k loan

The DJ, real name Robert Gorham, denies signing up to a personal loan to prop up the festival, which was last held in 2018

By James Hanley on 25 May 2022

Rob da Bank, Bestival, Tappit

Rob Da Bank, real name Robert Gorham

Bestival founder Rob Da Bank is being sued after allegedly failing to repay a £649,000 loan taken out to bail out the event.

A trial at Central London County Court heard the former BBC Radio 1 DJ, real name Robert Gorham, and co-director John Hughes were personally loaned almost £1 million by TicketLine Network between 2016 and 2018, reports the Daily Mail.

Founded by Gorham and his wife Josie in 2004, Bestival was took place in the Isle of Wight before switching to Dorset’s Lulworth Castle – site of its Camp Bestival sister festival – in 2017.

The court heard the festival had suffered “numerous cashflow emergencies” prior to its demise four years ago, with TicketLine stepping in with an initial £750,000 to Gorham and Hughes, who would be liable to pay it back, in 2016.

Its final edition in 2018, headlined by London Grammar and M.I.A., was only able to go ahead due to a further £249,000 cash injection from TicketLine to pay for portable toilets.

“Our case is that it was not a personal loan – and what they say happened, didn’t happen”

The court heard that TicketLine loaned the money directly to Gorham and Hughes to “save the day”, because they were not confident their money was safe if loaned to the Bestival business. But TicketLine’s barrister Paul Burton said only £350,000 of the first loan had been repaid and none of the second, leaving £649,000 – plus interest – still outstanding.

Hughes has accepted the loans were made to the pair of them and have to be repaid, but Gorham is contesting the claim. His barrister Jonathan Miller said: “Our case is that it was not a personal loan – and what they say happened, didn’t happen – in a nutshell.”

Gorham told the court he was not heavily involved in the financial side of the festival.

“This was a multi-million pound, very busy business, with me driving the customer-facing side and the artists, a whole raft of things in the festival world,’ he said. “The finance and accounting was not my department…. I never signed up to a personal loan.”

The trial continues.


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