Alt Fest have released a statement confirming that the festival is cancelled.
(Update at bottom re replacement events)
In a long post on Facebook the Alt Fest organisers list a string of apparent reasons for the festivals failure, including the need to pay most of the costs of the festival up-front, a ‘costing error’, low ticket sales and an investor pulling out.
While there have been some favorable responses, many are angry that the statement seems to blame the alternative community for not buying tickets, especially considering the ones that did are now the ones being effected, and that the organisers seem to have been releasing inflated ticket-sales figures until very recently. The general consensus seems to be that although the Alt Fest organisers did admittedly ‘try’ to put on a great festival, they did so at the risk of their customers and were apparently very naive and inexperienced to be attempting such a large-scale event.
The confirmed cancellation means most ticket buyers should be able to get refunds, but many of them will still be out-of-pocket for non-refundable travel and accommodation bookings, plus any camping equipment they bought that will now go unused. Several of those who responded seem to be from outside of England and with huge travel costs already paid. Many raised that earlier notification would have meant they could have got more of their expenses refunded and/or made alternative plans to attend another festival.
Also not covered in the statement is what will happen for those who backed the festival via Kickstarter (including purchasing tickets that way). It seems that with the Alt Fest company going into liquidation, this will likely mean they may not get refunded.
Well known festival vendor Deli Kate posted to say that she is also unlikely to see her vendors fee returned and that this matter could ruin her business.
Undoubtedly an interesting project from the start, what could have been a ‘ground breaking‘ new festival has instead harmed the reputation of UK music festivals. Many fans have lost a lot, from large amounts of money, to now-unmovable booked annual leave, to missing out entirely on attending a festival this year, Contractors have had a substantial hit in their summer takings, other already established events were cancelled for 2014 because it clashed with the date for Alt Fest (which was being touted as the ‘The largest UK alternative festival’) and seasonal staff have now lost work after being booked. Larger bands are even reporting they are having to cancel other dates because coming to England is no longer financially viable now their Alt Fest set has been cancelled. By being overly ambitious without the financial backing or knowledge to do so, over 8000 members of the alternative community have been severely let down, and many will no doubt be wary of participating in a new-start music event again.
More research should have been done, risks should have been reduced and promises should have been more realistic. Instead of trying to be a UK Wacken, a festival ‘for the fans’ should have found out first if there was enough of a festival-going fan base was there before taking risks with the communities own money. Alt Fest organisers were reckless in aiming for such a large-scale event on their first outing.
By continuing to masquerade as an achievable event when they knew it was turning to shit, Alt Fest put what was (supposed to be) best for their business ahead of their moral obligations to their supporters. Yes, announcing they were having trouble earlier would have likely bought forward the confirmed demise of the festival, but the company is going into liquidation and will be escaping much of their debt owed. The organisers will have also been made unhappy by the failure but the end result is: 8000 people have had their pockets picked and their summer ruined versus 2 x temporary bad credit ratings for the organisers. Earlier notification would have severely reduced the financial and personal impact on those the event was supposed to have been for but not increased the bad effects on the organisers.
No, they didn’t mean to f-up, but Alt Fest organisers took on a lot of responsibility (on many levels) when they promised they could achieve putting on this event, and they haven’t lived up to it. Instead of blaming those they have let down, they need to accept this mess is their fault and their overreaching and grandstanding is the precise and only cause of this dismal failure.
The spirit may be bruised by the alt community are trying their best to rescue something for this farce. An ‘S.O.S festival’ has been arranged in London for the same dates. More info here. And those with non refundable travel booked to Kettering (or those who still want to get down to Kettering) are rallying around to ‘cobble an event from the ashes of Alt Fest‘ with a Ctrl Alfest Delete range of events. More info here. Infest are offering a reduced rate Infest ticket for all those with proof of Alt Fest ticket purchase. More info here.
If you know of any more Alt Fest replacement events please let us know. And anyone who attends is welcome to do a write-up for MV. Just drop us a line.