Hultsfred Wants Deposits Back

The official receiver tidying up the financial affairs of Sweden’s bankrupt Hultsfred Festival wants the acts who were scheduled to play the canceled 2010 version to send their deposits back.

Artists including Scissor Sisters, Deftones, 30 Seconds To Mars, The Ting Tings, Killswitch Engage and top Swedish acts including The Hives, Kent and The Ark had only a few days notice that the festival wasn’t happening. Bengt Stridh from Swedish commercial law firm Glimstedt wants the money returned.

Stridh explains that the move is based on the premise that the deposit was part of a performance fee and that no performances took place.

He shrugs off the suggestion that it wasn’t the artists’ fault they didn’t perform and says the wording of some of the contracts leads him to believe he has a legal case for getting the money returned.

If the money isn’t forthcoming, his options include taking the acts to court, which he could do in Sweden in the case of UK-based acts, although pursuing American acts such as Scissor Sisters and Deftones could mean embarking on a lengthy and expensive process in the U.S. courts.

Stridh says he accepts some agents and managers will point to the expenses they’ve incurred and told Pollstar he’s prepared to take that into account.

“If they can show they had outgoings relating to this performance, then of course we can look at that,” he told Pollstar, saying he expected some of the deposits would be returned with the expenses already deducted.

With the festival already canceled, the various Hultsfred companies filed for bankruptcy two days before what would have been its 25th anniversary. It sold 5,000 three-day tickets when it needed to sell 13,000 to break even.

At the time, Tony Bohlin, chairman of the organisation behind the festival, said that going ahead with it could have put the company in court for continuing to trade while insolvent.

As far as wrapping up the bankruptcy is concerned, Stridh’s next task is to examine the claims of the various creditors claiming to be owed money by either Hultsfredfestivalen AB or associated companies including The Association Rockparty, Rockmetropol I Hultsfred AB, and Music Link Hultsfred AB.