John Butler Owed $95k As Peats Ridge Collapse Leaves $1.2M Debt Unpaid
The severe problems surrounding the financial collapse of Peats Ridge Festival after 9 years of musical service continue to plague festival organisers, as it is revealed that the company owes creditors nearly $1.2 million in unpaid debts.
Festival director and sole secretary of the Glenworth Valley music festival, Matt Grant, issued a statement on January 18th announcing that the festival was unable to cover its costs and would be winding up, claiming he had been “open and transparent” about the festival’s financial woes as he entered The Festival Company, the organisers behind the New Year’s event, into liquidation.
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) – the union representing artists and performers – then accused Peats Ridge organisers for failing to pay “hundreds of professional musicians, performers and production crew” for their efforts at the three-day event. Calling Mr. Grant’s actions irresponsible as he “intends to wind up the company without paying its debts.”
One artist who is significantly out of pocket is John Butler, with his own Butler Brown Touring Company owed $95,579.50 for the John Butler Trio’s headline performance at the Peats Ridge Sustainable Arts and Music Festival over new Year’s, according to appointed liquidators, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“JBT is in the process of trying to recoup unpaid monies along with many other performers and contractors for their performance at Peats Ridge,” states John Butler Trio manager, Philip Stevens, referencing the 200+ acts on the bill who are also seeking reimbursement from the festival. Other acts that remain unpaid include Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Falls, Cass Eager & The Velvet Rope, Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers, Lolo Lavina, and The Black Seeds – who are owed $11,500 – plus many more owed finances through touring companies and agencies.
The Music also reveals the huge list of creditors that has been released to liquidators Jirsch Sutherland of those affected by the festival’s collapse.
The largest of those being Sorted Events, the beverage catering company who provided the bars onsite is owed $283,726, while the festival’s own booker Damien Cunningham of Elastic Entertainment has written an open letter about the $49,477 figure he’s missed out on.
Mr. Cunningham writes on the Elastic Entertainment website, “I am in absolute shock and can imagine you are too.”
“Like all of you I have been a contractor dealing on good faith with Peats Ridge Festival and in that time I have never dealt with the finances or had financial control, other than being given a budget for the program,” writes Mr. Cunningham, recounting how Festival Director Matt Grant called “out of the blue” to inform him of the festival being placed in receivership; mere minutes passing by between his notification and the official statement of its collapse.
“I never had previous knowledge that this would happen and I am angry and devastated that my relationship with artists/managers/agents has been tarnished by this situation,” writes the booker.
Worst of all, the notice issued by liquidators Jirsch Sutherland demonstrates that Peats Ridge only had $140,000 of its own money ponied up on the books, while the firm adds they’ll be seeking $80,000 of that figure for its services in the liquidation, leaving just $60,000 to spread between the vast amounts of money owed to creditors.
Andrew Spring of Jirsch Sutherland filed the report on the list of creditors, which reveals that Matt Grant had been the director of four companies that had been made insolvent since August 2011, while Mr. Spring also said he was investigating if Mr. Grant was running these companies while in insolvency, an offence under companies law, while seeking out what happened to the proceeds of ticket sales from the 2012 festival.
Industry heavyweights are also owed money, Chugg Entertainment is owed $6,985, The Harbour Agency $16,195, Select Music $6,780, Modular Agency $11,000, Foreign Dub $12,100, Niche Productions $10,000,Fuzzy Touring $5,500, and Billions Australia a whopping $45,650.
The Music‘s own publishers are owed $4,315 and also lists the Australian Tax Office are seeking $21,656, APRA for $14,850, Australian Mobile Staging $15,296, ISEC $15,249, JR Richards & Sons $38,460, Oztix $10,982, Premier Motor Services $20,748, Rock Posters Sydney $6,600, Sydney Posters $16,792, TFH Temporary Fence Hire $20,465, and Splashdown $28,837.
It’s a tough gig running a festival taking years of experience to learn how to pull it off without a hitch – and even then you can’t predict the weather or how wasted the crowd will be. Join us as we count down the biggest disasters to strike the Australian festival market. Watch this slideshow »