MUSIC festival Gosfest has been called a ‘catastrophe’ after two of its headline acts pulled out.
The management teams of James Arthur and Scouting for Girls confirmed to The News that neither act would be performing at the four-day festival.
This is another setback for organisers of the four-day event, Eventures Int Ltd.
The firm has had trouble securing a venue after it was told it could not have last year’s site of Walpole Park by Gosport Borough Council.
Its provisional booking for Stokes Bay was cancelled in April by the council and it was told it could not use any council-owned land in the borough.
Eventures is hoping to use Newlands Farm, in Fareham, but a decision on a licence for the site will not be made until July 9 – just three weeks before the festival.
The whole festival from the beginning has been a catastropheDean Keating
Fareham Borough Council’s licensing board will make the decision using advice given by the Safety Advisory Group which made a recommendation based on a meeting held yesterday.
Eventures would not say how many tickets it has sold but told The News at the end of April that more than 3,000 had been purchased.
Headline acts James Arthur and Scouting for Girls were advertised to be on stage on the Saturday and Sunday before Eventures took them down from its website on Tuesday.
Modest Management, the agent for Scouting for Girls, told The News it pulled out of the festival more than two weeks ago after the organisers could not guarantee it would go ahead after problems with the local authority.
James Arthur and Scouting for Girls are now booked for other festivals over the same weekend of August 1 and 2.
The agent of Union J, the other headliner, has confirmed the band is still making an appearance.
Dean Keating, who runs local events in Gosport, said the organisation had been a catastrophe.
‘Eventures have got to stop burying their head in the sand,’ he said.
‘The whole festival from the beginning has been a catastrophe and a joke.’
Ade Jupe, who co-founded the Gosfest Forum Facebook page, said: ‘The people of Gosport need to be answered.
‘They need to be told what is going on with the artists. It is not just ticket holders who have been affected, local businesses who have organised concessions also need to know what is happening.’
People have taken to Twitter to tweet James Arthur and his management company for clarification.
Wendywoo5 tweeted: ‘can u please tell me and hundreds of others that u r still playing at gosfest cos we only got tickets 4 you’ while Liana (llama61) tweeted: ‘need some clarification here James is the only reason I’m going to Gosfest.’
Louise Fryer-Bye tweeted James Arthur and Union J saying: ‘Are you booked 4 Gosfest in Aug? People are buying tickets just 4 you.’
Chloe Palmer, director of Eventures, said: ‘We signed and contracted several bands back in February.
‘Unfortunately due to the delay in securing a new venue and third parties making unsolicited contact with one of our agencies providing misinformation, concerns were raised about the event with the agency and they were not able to allow us any more time to meet our further contractual obligations.
‘Therefore the original contracts have now lapsed.
‘However, we are in the process of arranging new contracts which should mean the artists may perform at a different time or day than originally advertised. We are also looking at additional and/or alternative headliners to ensure GosFest fans are not disappointed.’
Trading Standards advice
TRADING Standards says a change to headline acts at festivals could warrant refunds.
In its guidelines, it says: ‘Change to a headline act or a main star of a performance is likely to be a material change.
‘The matter may be less clear cut in relation to festivals, or events where more than one star or band is billed.
‘Relevant factors include how the event is advertised and the prominence given to an artist or band in promotional material.’
It adds: ‘Suppliers often reserve the right to make material variations to the event or activity, whether or not due to matters or circumstances beyond their control.
‘Such terms are likely to be considered unfair unless they include a right for the consumer to cancel without penalty and/or receive compensation where appropriate.’