Cheesed off: Alex James festival goes bust

Food and music festivals go out of business

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United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Chris Swindells | 04 November 2011

The two events earlier this year in September were billed as celebrations of food and music and included artists such as KT Tunstall, The Kooks and Eliza Doolittle, they also were visited by such guests as David Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson.

In fact Alex James' Harvest festival hosted on his farm in Kingham, Oxfordshire was crowned 'Worstival' by a Guardian blog writer.

Big Wheel Promotions, co-run by a former EMI executive, who own both of the festivals have gone into voluntary administration and have been uncontactable since. They leave the future of the event in uncertainy as ticket holders who have already brought 2012 tickets await news of what is to happen to the festival next year. 

There have been unsubstantiated allegations that some performers at both events this year have not yet been paid.

One creditor is local school, Kingham primary school, owed £7,000 currently by the company for providing local musical acts for the Blur bassist's Harvest event in September.

Headteacher Ed Read said: "There are 200 children at this state school who rely on that money. It's going to have a huge impact. With the national austerity measures, budgets in schools have been reduced. Our music teacher is paid largely by the music festival we do ourselves. We are either going to have to lose the music teacher, or take it from other budgets which will reduce other parts of the curriculum."

There has currently been no comment from either Alex James or Jimmy Doherty on the future of the festival or those still owed money for their involvement. Alex James has not be answering calls but has made public appearences to support a new line of cheeses moving on to ASDA shelves this month. "It's generated something like £2m worth of publicity," The 'Country House' man said recently about the cheese launch, "It even made the New York Times! But I suppose that's what I set out to do."


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