Quart Goes Bust Again

The team that bought the bankrupt Quart Festival from the official receiver has soon handed it back, filing the Norwegian event for its second bankruptcy in as many years.

New co-owner Arild Buli told TV2 television network that the 2009 event in Kristiansand went down for 15 million kroner ($2.63 million). It was one-third more than he predicted to Pollstar at the time. It filed for bankruptcy Sept. 28.

After this year’s edition, Buli and partner Trond Age Nyhus immediately committed to restaging the event in 2010. But that was before Norwegian newspapers discovered the losses may be much higher and doubted if it is possible to underwrite a similar downside next year.

The harder Quart has tried vying against Oya and Hove to be the country’s biggest festival, the more money it has lost.

Buli and Nyhus, who’ve made money out of real estate and running festival bars, bought the festival from the official receiver after the 2008 edition took it down with reported debts of 16 million kroner ($2.8 million).

The local Kristiansand council wrote off millions to keep the event afloat for the previous three years but could not continue doing so.

Political and media opinion was beginning to question if the event would ever be financially viable.

The Norwegian regional papers doubted it’s possible to make such an event happen in Kristiansand. VG claimed the 2009 festival would stop after two days if the security company wasn’t paid. The head of the security company denies saying anything to the press.

“They came with this story a day before the money was even due to be paid, but they made it look as if we hadn’t paid something that we should have already paid,” Buli complained, blaming the papers for trying to kill the event with negative stories.

He had two VG reporters escorted off the site because he didn’t like what their paper had written.

Quart 2009 (June 30 to July 4) had former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash among the headliners. Others on the bill included Black Eyed Peas, Marilyn Manson, Placebo, Korn, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Chris Cornell and Volbeat.

Three thousand people bought five-day tickets and the rest of the 10,000 or so daily crowd bought tickets for one or more days.

Buli said he was about 5,000 five-day tickets short of where he had needed to be.

It’s not clear if Quart 2010 will open June 29 as scheduled.