Malkjær Magic Couldn’t Save Midtfyns

Amateur magician Henrik Malkjær tried to work his magic on Midtfyns Festival, but instead of turning it back into a successful summer outdoor, he’s made it disappear.

Malkjær began casting his spell on the bankrupt event when he paid former owner Knud Bjerre about 25,000 danish kronor (US$4,000) for the brand and whatever was left of the goodwill a couple months ago.

Although the festival went down within six months of Bjerre setting up a limited company to buy it from Odense Boldklub soccer team, and before he even managed to stage the event once, he hung on to the brand by immediately re-selling it to another of his limited companies, LKB.

In January, he told Pollstar he’d made that arrangement so the festival company wouldn’t have its resources drained by paying the Odense soccer team the whole amount at once and would be able to spread the cost by paying LKB back over a five-year period. The money was to be paid back after each year’s event.

Bjerre refused to discuss the figures involved but, at the time he bought Midtfyns, he said it wasn’t such an amount that he had to “go to the bank for it.”

When the festival went bust leaving 4,000 ticket-buyers out of pocket and owing money to international acts including Alicia Keys, Faithless, Starsailor, The Cardigans, Groove Armada, Air, and The Delays along with a long list of top domestic talent, the brand remained with LKB.

When Malkjær bought it, the Danish papers immediately questioned how he would make it happen and the regional Fyns Stifstidende pointed out that he still owes 200,000 kronor (US$32,000) on a 2005 festival-turned-market he put together in Odense, and has court orders against him.

“Today, I can kick myself for not paying the money that I owe,” he told the paper.

“As long as I have debts, I can’t borrow any money to run the festival and I haven’t had my inheritance paid to me yet,” he added.

According to some Danish news wires, he has been waiting for this inheritance for four years. Their estimates suggest it amounts to about 2 million kronor (US$320,000). He said he intended to use it to pay his debts and fund the festival, although presumably it would have been a very low-profile happening.

He tried to keep the show on the road by sharing the event with the local forenings. About a dozen of them soon came on board, but when the true financial picture began to emerge, they all jumped ship.

What Malkjær is doing with the June 1-4 festival now is anybody’s guess. Nobody has managed to track him down for a comment.

Befitting of a part-time magician and children’s entertainer, he has “disappeared off the face of the earth,” according to Stifstidende.

–John Gammon