GaltresGaltres Festival Trading Ltd, organiser of Galtres Parklands Festival has been placed into liquidation and is meeting creditors to discuss payments which it owes to staff, suppliers, traders and stallholders.

A spokesperson for Galtres Festival exaplined: “Despite developing an excellent reputation for being a high quality event, the festival has not succeeded in attracting sufficient numbers of attendees to meet its costs.

“It is perhaps symptomatic that the first interest ever shown in our event over 10 years by some regional and national media is to report on its apparent demise.

“The context of the decision to proceed with each year’s festival was a thorough analysis of performance figures, projections and costs. In each case, the directors involved firmly believed the decision was the right one, both for the creditors and for the festival itself. Several people close to the festival business injected personal funds to support the company. A dedicated team worked tirelessly to put on and promote an even better festival. They were committed to running a wonderful event, which delivered against its strong values, which covered its costs, and which contributed to repaying liabilities from previous years. But bewilderingly, despite the highly positive feedback, attendances did not grow at the required rate. It would be hard to question the quality of the event, which has been said by media and attendees to rival the likes of Glastonbury, but despite that it didn’t generate the sales it deserved and needed.

“We are deeply sorry to those individuals and businesses affected by this situation. We know hardship is being experienced as a result by several traders, staff, suppliers, contractors and others. We genuinely strive to support local businesses through the way we run our event, so are all the more distressed to see the opposite effect taking place in some cases.

“This is not the end of the road, however. The Trustees of the Foundation which owns the festival have carefully examined the business model, and despite all the problems over several years remain convinced that the event can be profitable, provided costs are kept in check and growth continues. Future profits are one of the means for the repayment of debts.

“Last week a decision was made to continue to press ahead with plans for next year.  When the dust has settled we will need to review that decision in the context of the negative publicity, which is now surrounding the festival, and we will also need to meet with the Duncombe Park estate to establish their views on the future. But as things stand it’s all systems go, and those people who have invested in earlybird tickets or Friends membership may look forward to future festivals every bit as good as this year’s. We are warmly grateful to our loyal friends and followers.

“Moving forwards, we have identified the need for additional external support with both marketing and funding; the former to give the necessary boost to ticket sales, and the latter to address both current liabilities and future cashflow. The love and respect for our event arising from this year’s festival left us in a promising position in August, and meetings were arranged with a view to progressing both these areas.

“Unfortunately the negative publicity which has surrounded the festival over the past week has eclipsed those discussions. We acknowledge with gratitude those creditors who continue to support us.

“Much of what has been reported and is untrue and defamatory. The trustees reviewed the business on a regular basis and stand by the decisions they made and the steps they took.

“We welcome the investigations into the festival business, which we are confident will exonerate us and allow us to move on. We are voluntarily opening our books and records to the police so that they may establish no wrong-doing has taken place. Similarly the insolvency process, which we have instigated, will involve a thorough investigation into the financial management of the business and the conduct of the directors.

“We really look forward to putting this all behind us, and to getting back to planning the way forwards. So many people love Galtres dearly, and we have received many messages of support as we work through this difficult time. Thank you so much – it means a lot to us..

“Finally, we have been advised to suspend our online social media platforms for an interim period, largely because they are being used by some for the publication of defamatory content which is potentially actionable, and we do not currently have the resources to moderate this content.

“We will develop this website for the 2015 festival as plans take shape, and will re-open our social media channels when we’re ready to announce details of the programme as it emerges.”

According to the Nationwide Caterers Association, a cashless payment system used at the festival has resulted in the traders receiving no money whatsoever for three days work with many having paid wages and received nothing back from the organisers. The association says that early indications suggest at least one catering company will now go out of business while others will struggle with the thousands of pounds worth of debt they have had forced upon them. It is now advising all members that cashless payment systems are too great a risk and until a system for ring fencing this money is developed, caterers should not accept work under these conditions.