Event staff owed 'tens of thousands' from liquidated music festival

The Scottish Live Events Network has said 'dozens' of production staff are owed payment from Doune the Rabbit Hole.

Event staff owed ‘tens of thousands’ from liquidated music festival Doune The Rabbit Hole Website

Event staff from Scotland’s largest camping music festival, who announced it was operating under a new business following liquidation, have said they are owed “thousands” from the company.

The Scottish Live Events Network has said that “outstanding invoices” is still owed to over a dozen production staff who operated at Doune The Rabbit Hole in both 2021 and 2022.

It was revealed by STV News that the company behind the event, Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival Ltd, entered liquidation after suffering “huge financial difficulty” – two months after being accused of failing to pay artists.

The festival will relaunch under the new management of Festival Beverage and Property Services Ltd, who have “pledged” to pay outstanding payments.

The union, who revealed that “tens of thousands” is owed to suppliers, have said they have continued to contact the festival but have yet to receive a response over outstanding payments.

A statement read: “Recently Scottish Live Events Network contacted Alan Govan about some of our members outstanding invoices from both this and last year’s Doune The Rabbit Hole.

“In his response Alan assured us that he was intending to pay everybody, that they were just waiting on money being gifted to them and that they were holding off on advertising ticket sales for next year until the invoices for this year were paid. It was very similar to the emails everyone else had with a long list of excuses but no real time scale for making payment.

“We now learn that the company has been liquidated, a new one has sprung up in its place and that early bird tickets are being advertised.

“This is quite simply an insult to everyone who is owed money for this event. We would advise anyone who gets the notice of liquidation through to put in a claim, something is always better than nothing.”

Artists have still to be paid by the festival.

Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival Ltd is run by Jamie Murray, according to a filing on Companies House, while Festival Beverage and Property Services Ltd, which operated the 2018 and 2019 editions, is owned by Craig Murray – the former diplomat and blogger jailed over publishing information that could potentially lead to identifying some of the complainants involved in allegations of sexual misconduct against Alex Salmond.

A spokesperson for the festival previously said that “supply chain issues” affected income levels, which did not allow it to cover the budget costs outlined for the 2022 event.

The union has revealed it has reached out to Event Scotland, Creative Scotland, and the Scottish Government in an effort to lobby for “more cohesive standards and communication across the events licensing system”.

They have also contacted Stirling Council, in an effort to request any future licence is not granted for Doune The Rabbit Hole until “all debts have been paid”.

The statement added: “We have highlighted DTRH’s failure to pay its debts to Event Scotland, Creative Scotland, and the Scottish Government and are lobbying them to introduce more cohesive standards and communication across the events licensing system and for both Scot Gov and local authorities to be more aware of promoters’ financial histories and their ability and willingness to pay their bills before granting them a licence.

“This proposal has been met with interest and we hope to move forward with this at the start of 2023. We are also lobbying Stirling Council not to grant any further licences to this event until all debts have been paid.

“We will also be speaking to the local councils who gave out the licences this year to a number of events which have not paid their bills and pushing them to be more stringent in their decision making.

“We will also be putting in objections for any licence application that comes for an organiser who is known for not paying. If anyone has any information which they think might help either now or in the future please get in touch.

“From just two promoters alone over two years we estimate that over a quarter of a million pounds has been removed from the supply chain because of production companies and artists not getting paid.

“We would ask all suppliers, production companies, self employed etc, to consider very carefully before working with some of these organisers.”

Craig Murray denied the festival was a “commercial venture,” adding the event was “run for the love of music and the arts”.

He said the festival “could return to financial viability” in 2023 and any profits would “be applied to pay off those still owed money, as agreed with the liquidator of Doune the Rabbit Hole Ltd.”

“Unfortunately two covid cancellations that cost the company a high six figure sum, and then a shortfall in expected sales in 2022 once the cost of living crisis struck, meant that there was just not enough ticket income to meet costs in 2022,” Murray told STV News.

“We deeply regret this. It is a terrible situation. But it is not because anyone has taken any money out of the festival. There were just less ticket sales than expected.”

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