Jabberwocky Cancelled

Since All Tomorrow’s Parties cancelled the Jabberwocky Festival three days before it was supposed to take place, we’ve witnessed a massive clusterfuck of public statements and legal action as organizers argue online about who should refund disappointed fans. In its latest statement, ATP address contradictory claims made by ticket broker Dash: “We know you are angry … but any funds we did receive from Dash are tied up in the cancelled event.” They also respond to threats from publicity company Zeitgeist by claiming they fired the firm a while back for doing a “disappointedly substandard job on the Jabberwocky press campaign” and accuse the flacks of circulating rumors that the festival was in trouble, which “became a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Read the full statement on behalf of ATP its related firm Willwal Ltd. below.

In the past 72 hours there have been many accusations thrown at ATP and some so vindictive that we feel it necessary to defend our position.

Firstly, the claim that ATP has received all the funds for Jabberwocky is not true. We have not received a payment from Dash for more than two months. Any advances from the sales before that, went straight into event costs such as various artist fees and venue hire. But we have not received all the funds for Jabberwocky sales from Dash, and for them to make statements on their social media saying we have in fact received all these funds is simply not true. If that was the case, then we would not have struggled to stage the event.

As per their Terms & Conditions at the time Jabberwocky went on sale, we were always under the impression that in the event of a cancellation; all refunds would be processed by Dash, as the funds were sent directly to Dash’s PayPal account – not ATPs. Since then, Dash’s Terms & Conditions have changed on their website without our knowledge, well after Jabberwocky was on-sale, in an attempt to reflect no responsibility for the payments accepted into their PayPal account.

We know you are angry, and quite rightly so as you are hearing contradictory information concerning the source of your refunds – we are NOT trying to pass the buck, but any funds we did receive from Dash are tied up in the cancelled event and we too have lost considerable amounts of money. But we are petitioning Dash and working closely and restlessly with Paypal to ensure all customers receive their full due amount.

Secondly, the PR firm we originally engaged for Jabberwocky, Zeitgeist, felt it was necessary to announce to the world that they were taking legal action against us. What they neglected to mention was that we actually terminated their services for doing a disappointingly substandard job on the Jabberwocky press campaign and are in a legal dispute with them over the amount owed. When we dismissed them, they also started circulating rumours that Jabberwocky was in trouble, which of course did not help with advance sales and unfortunately, became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We are trying to get everyone refunded as soon as possible and honour all bands agreements. We have tried to assist in organising shows this weekend so all the door money goes to the artists to help pay their fee due for Jabberwocky and ensure that they are not out of pocket. The rumours that we stopped a band from playing a show because of a contractual obligation is also untrue. They assure us that they had not confirmed a show with another venue and were happy to book a show assisted by us in order to help secure their immediate expenses for the weekend and go towards the original fee that they were offered, which is being honoured.

If people want to continue slinging mud at us, we can’t stop them, but we would ask that you pause to think about what it takes for a company of our size to continue to exist in the current music climate, and question if you really believe that there was some machiavellian intent to rip off music fans that we have given so many years of our life to, whilst trying to survive and deliver quality shows. If anyone out there says they believe in what we do; now is the time to support us more than ever, rather than letting others try and kick us while we are down.

We are devastated the event didn’t happen. It has always been a dream to finally get together two of our long time friends – Pitchfork & Primavera – and Jabberwocky was to be this dream realised. We have all worked tirelessly for almost a year on this, and so of course, tried absolutely everything in our power to stage it right up to the very moment that there were no options left other than this absolute last resort.

Zeitgeist founding member Jamie Stockwood has released his own statement:

It’s good of ATP to finally respond on this matter. It would appear that our company, the ticketing agency, all suppliers and all the disappointed fans were wrong about Willwal Ltd. Even their partners have distanced themselves from the situation.

This is a matter for the courts now but we are sure the overwhelming recent media coverage and ongoing investigations will ensure the good will out.

While some well-informed fans may have been reluctant to buy tickets after ATP Concerts liquidated last year and Willwal Ltd was set up with additional funding, the fest’s recent social media messaging insisted there was nothing to be concerned about.

ATP Iceland, headlined by Belle & Sebastian, is still scheduled for July 2015

Comments (11)
  1. I have no idea what is going on here, what happened or even what this event was… but I’m glad I didn’t buy a ticket.

  2. Gah what a nightmare…

  3. Looks like when you have a Pitchfork attitude to booking festivals – no bands that are too fun or easy to enjoy (w/ the exception of Thee Oh Sees) – people aren’t that into it. Big surprise. There were several other good bands but no great ones and many boring ones.

    • I saw someone else blaming Pitchfork for some strange reason.

      One of the problems with any hypothesis that blames Pitchfork over their help curating is that you’re believing ATP is telling the truth when they say the event was cancelled due to ticket sales. Remember that ATP posted 2 weeks ago that there were only 300 weekend passes left for sale. I’m not sure anyone should believe anything ATP says right now. In the past, the reason they cancel or change dates is because they lost so much money from the last event they can’t get above water to pull off the next one (at which point they announce a future event and use those ticket sales to spend the minimum needed in bills to pay for the current one). My best bet would be ATP went to Primavera and Pitchfork (and who knows else) for a bailout after losing money on ATP Iceland, and when they refused ATP had to cancel.

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Have you seen Neutral Milk Hotel? Lots and lots of fun, a big singalong. Are they as revered in London though?

  4. I very nearly bought tickets to this event as I thought this event reflected excellent value for money – £40 to see Neutral Milk Hotel, Kurt Vile and a whole other range of acts sounded great! The only and ultimately one sticking point it had was that I live out of town and it would have ended up a costly weekend once I had paid for travel and accommodation. I was then shocked to hear it wouldn’t be going ahead. However, I still have a lot of time for ATP. A few months previous I actually went to watch Neutral Milk Hotel at the Roundhouse and ATP helped me out a great deal by helping me switch my tickets to another night when it transpired I couldn’t make the date I had originally booked – this was with only a few days to go and with all dates sold out. Obviously I’m now relieved I didn’t book tickets to Jabberwocky but I do hope ATP bounce back from this and continue to book exciting events in the future. Fingers crossed, next time will be a success!

  5. I feel bad for the ATP folks. It seems to me like they are decent people who managed to curate some great bills over the years, but perhaps didn’t have the business sense to keep up now that every state has like 5 festivals. When they cancelled the festival their original statement was like “ATP has weathered losses such as this and gone on with the show, taking huge direct financial blows as an independent company” … I guess that’s supposed to sound endearing because they’re so committed to the art or whatever, but from a business standpoint you have to wonder what the fuck they’re doing. Stop spending so much on overhead and book some bands that will put asses in seats.

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