Shock as festival run by Portsmouth team goes bust owing thousands

Heather Todd pictured in 2014 when she was Portsmouth City Council's assistant events manager
Heather Todd pictured in 2014 when she was Portsmouth City Council's assistant events manager
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A FESTIVAL firm is set to go into liquidation leaving traders and ticket holders desperate to claw back thousands of pounds.

The first Portsmouth-run Twisted Village Festival was due in mid-August and promised ‘strange delights’ with music, street theatre, cabaret, dance, and street art.

But the venture ended in disaster with liquidators being appointed at Twisted Village Festival Productions run by former city council events manager Heather Todd and Stephen Fitzgerald at Portsmouth Technopole in Kingston Crescent, North End.

Total liabilities hit £69,000 but this includes £50,000 poured in by shareholders.

Gosport trader Jay Kennedy runs the unrelated company Twisted Village Catering and is owed £1,000 for a pitch.

He said: ‘I paid - in good faith and I’m sure everybody else did - expecting a festival.

‘They’ve cancelled the festival and they’ve said they are going to pay everybody back but have gone into liquidation.’

Trader Daniel Cole, from Nature’s Pantry, paid £240 for a pitch but said the supply chain knock-on would be bad. He said: ‘We won’t be ordering anything from our supplier that weekend. It’s a chain reaction.’

The festival was due for August 16-18 at Vicarage Farm Park, Winchester.

A Facebook post said a decision was made with ‘broken hearts’. In a statement directors added: ‘Despite a positive response to what we were offering we haven’t sold the number of tickets that we needed to by this stage, and we cannot take the risk of going forward on hope and enthusiasm alone, so regrettably we have had to cancel the festival.

‘We have not come to this decision lightly, having explored every possible option. We have tried everything, devoting ourselves entirely, all of our available financial resources and putting our own money into the company hoping to make it work.’

They said they did their ‘very best to limit the losses to our ticket holders, traders and contractors’.

Poor ticket sales and pressure to sign more contracts also played a part in the proposed liquidation.

Ticket holders are getting refunds through credit card providers.

Nicola Layland from Portland added: ‘The directors concluded that continuing to trade was not an option and they took the decision to cancel.’

Anyone owed money but not contacted should e-mail festival@portbfs.co.uk