Wiesen’s Bust

Wiesen Festivals has gone bust, making it the second Austrian major music promoter to hit the bankruptcy courts in a month.

Following the October 21st demise of MT Veranstaltungs Gm (better known to the industry as Rock & More), the Wiesen-based outdoor festival specialist has folded with debts estimated at about euro 1.5 million, Austria’s FM4 radio online news reported.

Since the bankruptcy was filed at the Eisenstadt Country Court November 13th, Mattersburg-based official receiver Dr. Willibald Stampf has been looking into the possibility of saving the annual Wiesen season that includes the Forestglade, Two Days A Week, Spring Vibration, Jazz Fest and Sunsplash festivals.

The deadline for creditors to make claims to Dr. Stampf at Brunnenplatz 5b, 7210 Mattersburg, Austria, is December 18th.

Franz Bognor fears the collapse of Wiesen means there will be nobody to promote on the site, located about 45 miles south of Vienna, which may have a knock-on effect as his Bognor Veranstaltungs GmbH owns the grounds and rents it to Wiesen.

Dr. Stampf’s first problem may be establishing who actually owns the Wiesen company. Bognor lays claim to 10 percent and says the remaining 90 percent is with Flash Sportanlagen und Warenhandels GmbH, the huge building and investment firm that bought the shares from MC Marketing, which is part-owned by Bank Austria.

Flash Sportanlagen chief and co-owner Hans Joerg Finsterer said he sold the stock back to Bognor, although the official records appear to indicate Konstantine Huber – a Vienna lawyer – is currently holding the stock.

Stampf said the courts will need to clarify if Huber is the actual owner of the shares – he’s also listed as managing director of the company – or he’s a “Treuhandschaft,” a “trustee” that has his name on the stock on behalf of another party.

Reports in Wiener Zeitung and Der Standard said the company’s problems began when torrential rain flooded the Wiesen site and wiped this year’s Forestglade and left it with a euro 400,000 downside.

They also reported Wiesen having a trading loss of about euro 997,000 for the previous year.

Wiesen has a history of problems with its major backers. Two years ago, Ewald Tatar, Paul Debnam and Thomas Zsifkovits quit the company to form a new one with Folkert Koopmans’ Hamburg-based FKP Scorpio.

At the time, Tatar refused to give Pollstar details of what sparked the walkout, but it was no big secret that he, Debnam and Zsifkovits hadn’t always seen eye to eye with MC Marketing.

The next court hearing for MT Veranstaltungs Gm, the former Rock & More, is in the Vienna courts and also on December 18th.

— John Gammon