Aussie Promoter In Court

First-time promoter Peter Rowe pleaded guilty April 12 to a number of breaches of the liquor licensing and safety laws at his Live At The Zoo festival in Australia.

It was held Easter 2009 as a three-day music camping experience in South Australia. But before gates opened, staff walked out.

Toilets were sub-standard, four fans were hospitalized with ecstasy overdoses, cars were allowed in camping areas and a tent was run over, and a headlining act was axed after fans broke through security fences.

In licensing court, Rowe blamed US organizer Hal “Royce” Abramson, saying, “I hired what I thought was the world’s best event producer and I was taken to the cleaners by him.” But last year, Abramson attacked Rowe for his “extreme inexperience”, his progressively declining cooperation, inability to heed advice and non-concern for adherence to contractual arrangements.

Rowe told Judge Mark Griffin the fiasco left him with debts of $700,000 and he would not be able to pay any fines. His company Avalon Events is in voluntary administration. He will be sentenced late April.