A GuilFest Mess

After hailing this year’s event as “the best ever,” the organiser of the UK’s GuilFest has now admitted it can’t pay some of the acts that played and local online mag Get Surrey says “the insolvency practitioners have been called in.” 

It’s the fourth mid-sized UK fest to hit the wall this summer following financial disasters at Northamptonshire’s Alt-Fest London’s Jabberwocky and Camden Crawl, with all claiming that they didn’t move enough tickets.

The Guildford three-dayer ran July 18-20 with a lineup that included The Boomtown RatsThe EnemyKool & The Gang, and Katrina Leskanich and said it was pleased to have pulled 15,000 per day.

“It was a fantastic team that put GuilFest together. Unfortunately we didn’t get enough ticket sales to pay all the bills we have got to pay,” organizer Tony Scott explained, confirming the 2014 fest was insolvent and unable to pay some of its and bands and suppliers.

“One of the reasons was that we thought we were a bit short of time to do it all in,” Scott added. “We have never done a festival in three-and-a-half months.” GuilFest, which won the UK Festival Award in 2006 for best family festival, has had rocky years in the recent past. Scott’s Scotty Events Ltd. went down with debts of £300,000 after GuilFest 2012.

“I’d love to see GuilFest keep going, but I think it’s got to be somebody who takes the helm or somebody who would need deeper pockets to do the job just to make sure it goes through,” he told BBC News at the time.

Guildford Fusion Festival Ltd., another of Scott’s companies and which ran GuilFest from 1998 to 2001, folded in October of that year. This year’s festival only got the nod from the local borough council in February, when Scott – now operating as Trowfest Ltd. – agreed to a number of conditions it imposed to protect its own financial interests regarding the use of the Stoke Park site. The council and the local police were among the losers when the 2012 festival went down.

“What I would say is, putting on these festivals is a very risky businesses which I did not fully appreciate when we started putting them on 22 years ago,” Scott told Guildford Dragon when asked if he should be given yet another chance to run the event. “For the first 10 years GuilFest cost me money, I made a loss, but we pushed it through.”

At press time it wasn’t possible to get comment from Scott. A creditors’ meeting for GuilFest was expected to be announced within a week.

The other acts to play GuilFest included The Human LeagueSam BaileyFun Lovin’ CriminalsSoulfly, and The Sugarhill Gang.