Lost Weekend Disappears

Organizers of the canceled The Lost Weekend festival are threatening to take Anschutz Entertainment Group to court for withdrawing its financial backing. But getting to the bottom of what really went on behind the scenes doesn’t look to be a straightforward job.

Like the Billy Wilder-scripted film of the same name, in which Ray Milland played a dipso writer, some of the details of what really happened are beginning to look a little fuzzy.

Lost Weekend organizer Roy Gurvitz from the seemingly appropriately named Lost Vagueness event company, said the June 23-25 fest had to be chopped because AEG pulled almost £660,000 worth of backing and left his organisation “in the lurch” with only a couple of weeks to go.

The two-dayer at Powderham Castle in Exeter, the home of the Earl and Countess of Devon, was to have headline appearances from The Zutons, New York Dolls, and Julian Cope. But Lost Vagueness couldn’t find the up-front payments, including band deposits, after AEG allegedly pulled the financial plug.

At press time, Rob Hallett, AEG’s London-based senior international vice president, was out of the U.K. on other business and it wasn’t possible to get the U.S. conglomerate’s side.

Gurvitz is adamant that Lost Vagueness had a three-year contract to run the event with AEG funding, but it looked to be in some sort of trouble when his company put out a June 8th statement denying its cancellation.

It admitted AEG had “dropped the bombshell that they were pulling out,” but also claimed a new potential backer had come forward and that festival organizers were deep in discussion about the possibility of rescuing the event.

To add to the vagueness, a second statement released the same day announced that the last-minute opportunity to refinance the event had floundered and confirmed that it wouldn’t be happening after all.

Despite a news snip in The Daily Telegraph that said the festival had been canceled because AEG pulled out, the U.S. company hasn’t commented.

Gurvitz said he’s holding a June 9th letter from AEG that promises “an interim payment” to offset the losses, and another dated a day later that says it would meet all the cancellation costs.

At he time of the cancellation, Gurvitz estimated that both Lost Vagueness and AEG had each spent about £35,000 on the event.

He said ticket sales were up to about 2,500 and said a sale of around 4,500 would be enough to see it break even.

Gurvitz assured all ticket holders that they will be “refunded via the agencies from which they bought,” which are primarily AEG Live and Access All Areas.

– John Gammon