‘Britain’s Worst Promoter’ Faces Jail

A festival organiser who’s been dubbed “Britain’s worst concert promoter” in the British press may face jail if he doesn’t start giving refunds for canceled shows.

Moray Council pursued Brian Davies following scores of complaints from music fans left out of pocket from a string of canceled events. One, including his Memories Of Woodstock Festival with Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull and Barclay James Harvest, was canceled at short notice in August 2009.

Last year, he also pulled the plug on a three-day event at Crathes Castle, on Deeside, which was to feature Scottish rock band Nazareth as well as former Marillion singer Fish, and a similar event in Plymouth, Devon. The promoter claims the events were victims of the global recession.

Trading standards officers launched a seven-month investigation after receiving 60 complaints from fans who bought the £100 tickets and couldn’t get their money back. So far, 10 have been refunded.

The council won a legal action against Davies at Elgin Sheriff Court April 20, and was granted an enforcement notice under the Enterprise Act of 2002.

Although ticket holders will not get their money back, as Davies doesn’t appear to have any, the promoter faces up to two years in jail if he leaves future customers high and dry.

Davies, who was featured on the BBC television consumer programme “Watchdog,” contends he wanted to organise affordable outdoor concerts through his Keith-based New Dawn Events company.

“This order will not affect my events in the future. We are looking forward to Mayfest next month,” Davies told the Daily Express, signaling his intention to carry on organising big outdoor events.

“I lost nearly £100,000 after we had to cancel Memories of Woodstock. I have tried to refund every person who has been in touch with me,” he said.

He hoped to attract more than 15,000 fans to the Woodstock event, but sold only about 1,000 tickets. He blamed the economic crisis and the high fees he says the bands demanded to perform.

Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson soon hit back, telling the Aberdeen Press & Journal that Davies should “give up the preposterous delusion of being a major concert promoter.”

Anderson’s also written an open letter to Davies that accuses him of trying to put on festivals without adequate funding.

“You have attempted to make all payments out of advance ticket sales, which is a very naive and highly risky game plan for any promoter.”