Festicket Collapse Claims First Australian Victim
The collapse of UK ticketing agency Festicket has claimed its first Australia victim, with next month’s Borderline Music & Arts Festival in Wodonga, Victoria, cancelled.
“This tough decision was necessary due to our primary ticketing partner Festicket entering into administration, which has caused significant and unrecoverable financial issues for the event organisers,” co-organiser Daniel McDonald of Capital Entertainment said last week.
It was to stage on October 8 before 10,000 punters with Jimmy Barnes and The Teskey Brothers.
In the U.K., Festicket’s woes caused millions of lost pounds and “detrimental losses” for clubs.
The Motion club in Bristol, for instance, was owed £300,000 (AU$510,388). A brewing firm supplying drinks to Festicket events was down £25,000 ($42,532).
Festicket sold packages to events in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Another client, Lost Paradise in Darkinjung/Glenworth Valley NSW, has escaped. Promoter Finely Tuned knew of Festicket’s impending collapse and switched ticketing firms for its event.
It emphasised: “All tickets are valid and the event is still set to run exactly as planned.
“Ticket purchasers who are on a payment plan have had their payments paused – but payments will be resumed shortly, sales finalised and tickets honoured.”
Last week Lost Paradise added 30 news acts and said “less than 20% of all tickets remain.”
Other cancellations in recent weeks suggested other issues were also in play.
Daniel McDonald attributed Borderline’s axing to “labour shortages, supply chain issues and difficult economic conditions including ballooning insurance premiums and infrastructure costs.”
Flow, at Footscray Community Arts in Melbourne, pulled out last week due to “supply chain issues,” “market saturation” and increased infrastructure and production costs.
Climate is threatening to become more of a major hassle, with La Niña’s return.
Port Macquarie’s Festival of the Sun in early December with Peking Duk and Vera Blue quickly hit the “void” button this month.
“With the forecast of atrocious and unpredictable weather patterns, we simply cannot take the risk on behalf of our team, our punters and our hosting site,” said organisers.
“We make this decision far enough out to ensure our suppliers, artists and patrons are not inconvenienced at the last minute.”
Unpredictable weather patterns mean significant stress on insurance premiums for music events.
Australian Regional Tourism, which relies on festivals and tours has long warned that unless a solution to event insurance is found, operators will stage events without cover or just close up.
“Ballooning insurance premiums” was one reason for This That’s no-show at Sandstone Point, Queensland and Newcastle on October 29 and November 5 respectively.
Other grounds were “a combination of issues”, including “the current level of market saturation resulting in supply chain issues and labour shortages” and “difficult economic conditions” as well as predicted extreme weather conditions.
In the meantime, the live sector will be monitoring a Federal Court case that sets the tone for issues between insurers and promoters.
In a filing dated September 5, Scott Commens of Subsonic festival said the three-day meet in Dec. 2019 was scratched because of Black Summer bushfires raging 40 kilometers near the 270-hectare Riverwood Downs site in NSW’s Taree region, and low water levels in the nearby Karuah River.
After discussions with police, ambulance, fireys and the site owners, and being unable to find an alternate property, it was decided to cancel.
Five thousand fans and 200 acts were due, claiming $1.1 million had been spent already.
When the festival applied for between $867,000 and $877,000 under its event cancellation and abandonment cover, Lloyd’s rejected it saying there had been no reason to abandon the event and Commens should have convinced the property owners to stage the festival.