Receiver Confident Of Saving Wiesen

The receiver overseeing the bankrupt Wiesen Festivals estate is confident he can save the company and its outdoor shows by persuading a couple of the country’s major banks to write off at least some of what they’re owed.

Mattersburg-based official receiver Dr. Willibald Stampf confirmed that most of the money Wiesen owes is bank debt and back taxes, with very little of it owed to private creditors.

"I hope to be able to make an agreement with the banks within the coming weeks, and certainly in time for some events to happen this summer," he said.

Franz Bognor feared that the collapse of Wiesen would mean there would be nobody to promote shows on the festival site, about 45 miles south of Vienna, which may have a knock-on effect as his Bogner Veranstaltungs GmbH owns the grounds and rents it to Wiesen.

The site has four entries in Pollstar’s 2007 Euro Festival, including Jazzfest Wiesen (July 20-22), Salsa Dance Festival (July 28) and a new Urban Art Forms Festival (August 2-5) – an electro dance festival booked by Christian Lakatos of UAF Productions. The TwoDaysAWeek Festival that was tentatively slotted for the end of August now looks as if it will also go ahead.

Last November, reports in Wiener Zeitung and Der Standard say the company’s problems began when torrential rain flooded the Wiesen site and wiped out last summer’s Forestglade Festival, leaving it with a euro 400,000 downside. They also reported Wiesen had a trading loss of about euro 997,000 for the previous year.

Stampf said he’s not prepared to give a figure on how much Wiesen went down for until he’s signed off on the paperwork, but Austria’s FM4 reported estimates at about euro 1.5 million.

Wiesen has a history of internal problems. 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.