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New Bestival owners offer refunds for Camp Bestival 2018

Live Nation-Gaiety and SJM Concerts, the new owners of Camp Bestival, are to provide refunds and discounts on 2019 tickets out of their own pockets for all 2018 ticketholders, after the insurance pay-out from the partial cancellation of Camp Bestival 2018 was lost during the recent administration process.

“The nature of the last few months means that the insurance money that was available to refund 2018 ticketholders, and money from 2019 ticket sales, was entirely lost in the administration,” reads a statement from festival founders Rob and Josie da Bank. The final day of last year’s Camp Bestival was called off due to bad weather.

The festival, founded in 2008 and held at Lulworth Castle in Dorset, on the south coast of the UK, was forced into administration in September. Administrator Begbies Traynor later sold the event’s assets (along with those of Bestival itself, as well as several related companies) to Richmond Group, a company controlled by loans tycoon James Benamor which had previously loaned Bestival a reported £1.6 million.

The following month, Live Nation and SJM acquired those assets from Richmond Group (which had set up a new company called Safe Festivals Ltd, since handed over to LN-Gaiety), securing the future of Camp Bestival.

Since then, all parties have been tight-lipped on the future of the da Banks’ larger annual event, Bestival – though new documents filed by Begbies Traylor reveal Safe Festivals owns Bestival Group Ltd and Bestival Ltd, in addition to Camp Bestival Ltd, meaning the ball is likely in LN/SJM’s court. (Safe Festivals paid £958,824 for the companies, slightly less than the £1.1m reported originally.)

“The new owners, LN-Gaiety and SJM, understand how unfair this feels and as a result have agreed to fund discounts and refunds for 2018”

The documents also show that at the time of the acquisition, Live Nation’s Ticketmaster UK was Bestival Group’s largest known unsecured creditor, being owed £1.2m.

A person with knowledge of the situation says they believe the insurance money is still in the possession of Richmond Group, though this could not be independently verified at press time. IQ has contacted Richmond for comment.

The loss of the insurance money, the da Banks’ statement continues, “is unfair to you, our fans. The new owners, LN-Gaiety and SJM, understand how unfair this feels and as a result have agreed to fund discounts and refunds for 2018 ticketholders, and will honour all existing 2019 tickets.”

Anyone who bought a Sunday 2018 ticket can exchange it for a full refund, or apply for a free day ticket to either the Friday, Saturday or Sunday of Camp Bestival 2019, scheduled for 25–28 July. Those who had a 2018 weekend ticket are being offered a 33% discount on 2019 weekend tickets, to be redeemed via an email code.


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Creditor RG offers £1.1m for Bestival Group

Richmond Group, a company controlled by British loans tycoon James Benamor, has offered £1.1 million to rescue Bestival and Camp Bestival from administration.

It was revealed earlier this week that Benamor had filed notices at the High Court in London of his intention to appoint administrators to three companies behind the events, Bestival Group Ltd, Bestival Ltd and Camp Bestival Ltd. Another company owned by Benamor, Richmond Debt Capital, extended a £1.6m loan to Bestival and took charge of several festival “assets” in February 2017.

A statement from Richmond Group (RG) announcing the bid confirms the family friendly Camp Bestival 2019, for which tickets are already on sale, will go ahead as planned, although no mention is made of Bestival. IQ has sought clarification as to the future of the flagship event.

“Richmond Group has today made an offer of £1.1m to purchase the brand and assets of Bestival Group, with the intention of running the successful Camp Bestival going forward,” says a spokesperson for the company. “Under this offer, all Camp Bestival 2019 tickets sold so far will be honoured.”

“We have been fans and supporters of Bestival since the beginning. Our children have grown up with wonderful memories of these festivals,” adds Benamor.

“Bestival is an example of Dorset being world class and we are keen to ensure that this fantastic institution goes on to delight families and local businesses, for many years to come.”

This story will be updated.

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