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The Jabberwocky Festival, which All Tomorrow’s Parties was co-presenting along with Pitchfork and Primavera Sound, was set to come to London this weekend, bringing an enviable lineup of acts. But yesterday, just a few days before the festival was set to start, ATP canceled it, citing high costs and insufficient ticket sales. And now two companies that were working with ATP on the festival, the ticket seller Dash Tickets and the PR firm the Zeitgeist Agency, are pursuing legal action against ATP.

As NME reports, the issue with Dash Tickets is that ATP told ticket buyers to seek refunds from Dash. But Dash claims that it gave the money from those sales, as well as some advance money, to ATP: “Our trust in ATP seems to have been misplaced, as their emails to fans and customers today concerning refunds have become deliberately misleading. It is for this reason that we feel compelled to make it clear that Dash has given to ATP all funds that Dash received for ticket sales to Jabberwocky. In addition to giving ATP all the ticketing funds, Dash has made substantial advances to ATP which remain unpaid, as do considerable fees for the work we have undertaken on their behalf… It is important that everyone knows that Dash Tickets is in no way responsible for ATPs financial problems, nor with their conduct post cancellation. We are very keen to learn where the money has gone!”

The Zeitgeist Agency, meanwhile, claims that ATP (otherwise known as Willwal Ltd.) owes money for services rendered: “Willwal Ltd have failed to pay us for several months. We have tried hard to overcome this situation and find solutions, but Willwal’s representatives have revealed to us in writing that they used the funds destined for us in order to protect payments for venue and artists, rather than settle essential and agreed amounts to our company. This situation has left our company with no alternative but to pursue Willwal Ltd by instituting legal proceedings on the 20th July to recover the substantial debt, to which Willwal Ltd have not responded. This is a course of action which as you can imagine, we have been very reluctant to take.”

NME also quotes one ticket-buying fan who isn’t happy with the way the cancellation went down: “I know as music lovers we are supposed to support independent event organisers but ATP still plan to go ahead with ATP Iceland in 2015 without refunding people for the London festival first. Personally I lost £136 and want the money back.”

In a statement yesterday, festival organizer Barry Hogan claimed that if they’d gone through with the London festival, the costs would’ve meant the end of ATP. It now seems possible that legal costs from the cancellation could mean the end of the company anyway. ATP puts on great, great events, and right now, all we can do is hope the company figures everything out. The festival landscape would be an infinitely shittier place without those guys around.

Comments (8)
  1. Well, If you cancel the event and jerk people around instead of refunding them for the tickets you deserve to go out of business.

  2. I disagree, at this point the festival landscape would be much better off without them. Time for someone new to replace them and that won’t happen until they’ve disappeared for good.

    How could anyone book plane tickets for Iceland, or anywhere, in light of ATP’s behavior the last few years?

    • I think it’d be perfectly okay for them to be gone. In the US alone we had over 800 festivals. There’s too many. Look at what happened with Moogfest in Ashville, for example. The two companies split and tried to make two festivals, one of which cancelled and now Moogfest is biennial. They saturated the market.

      Not every festival can be a winner. Let’s just accept that and let the bad ones die.

      • Except if you’ve attended an ATP festival, you’d know that they are about as far from a bad one as they come. They have, in recent years, shown themselves to be inept at keeping things on the tracks, but the three festivals in the Catskills and the one in Asbury Park remain four of the best, most consistently engaging and worthwhile events I’ve ever attended. With their camp-style weekends they perfected the art of the independent festival, and it would be a real shame to see people with such great skills disappear from the scene because they are terrible at money management.

        • You caught me. I will freely admit to never having been to one of their festivals. But from a pure economic standpoint, I do think there is an overload.

        • I was at ATP Asbury & the botched NYC one and I agree with you – compared to what passes for most American festivals ATP is insanely superior but… how can they go forward? I can never plan international travel to an ATP event after what’s gone on the last few years.

          If they do the festival world a favor and just close shop, maybe something else can come along in their place? Basilica Soundscape in Hudson, for example, could maybe one day grow to what ATP is? Who knows? I just know from this point forward ATP is useless to me no matter how good the lineups and attitude and setup because I’d have to be crazy to trust them – and it’s not about the festival ticket, it’s the airfare and hotel and time cleared from work…

  3. ATP is the rare gem of music festivals and I hope they don’t disappear. Having been to a number of them in New York and in the UK (full disclosure, I was once in a band signed to their record label and played a couple of those fests), and they were so much fun. You’re not outside in shitty weather amongst many many thousands of people, but in these kitschy old holiday camps and resorts which lend their own charm, and the bands are all staying there with you. It’s so communal, incredibly unique and quite memorable.
    I hope they sort this stuff out. My own dealings with the people who run ATP were limited (I wasn’t the point person for that stuff) and I’ll leave everything else out (long story short, the band parted ways with the label), but they were nice people who really care about music and putting on festivals and remaining independent of corporate money.
    This kind of thing seems not surprising given the current state of the world economy, but it’s a bummer. I hope they survive.

    • I’ll add that I don’t think they’re trying to screw anyone over, but are more than likely faced with unfortunate circumstances. Still, i guess if fans/consumers are pissed off at them, that’s not good.

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