A divided scene, small UK gigs and a production nightmare?

Still no new news from Alt-Fest HQ, but with their top thread now reaching 1000 posts, people are agitated. There are various camps, some demanding money back and some rallying around Missy and Dom.

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Prominent promoter and all round entertainment chief, Mick Wood (Monsta Entertainments) has also stepped up to say that he does not think this would be down to Missy or Dom. To quote:

“This will be my last update until Altfest make their announcement. ANY ALTFEST METAL BANDS WHO WANT TO PLAY IN LONDON ON THE SUNDAY – GET IN TOUCH VIA PM OR EMAIL (monstaents2@yahoo.co.uk). I believe that a key partner involved may have (deliberately?) pulled out last minute. Leaving Dom and Missy in the position where they couldn’t do anything but pursue legal action. That of course would initially be subject to restrictions on what they can say in public. I say this as I personally – and other bands, djs, agents, managers etc have had a real sloppy response from Production leading up to the event – of course if my theory is true then those responsible for completing advance tech info would not or could not forward this vital information to make final arrangements. I do not believe it was a money issue – actual ticket sales were not huge – the expenses were covered (most bands were paid up front, others a 50% deposit) but if a key player in the organisation suddenly demands a lot more money or they don’t complete their tasks this would bring everything to a halt. All this is just my opinion – but I am party to some information that pushes me into this way of thinking Again I state those who released the cancellation early did their duty to their fanbase, that Dom and Missy are obviously trying their hardest and although I am personally a fortune out of pocket I am still waiting until I get my gob on – I want to make sure I go at the REAL person who caused this mess (anybody who knows me will know that I will – with full guns blazing). None of this of course helps clarify the financial losses we are all expecting to have – I feel for every single one of us. I also feel for the whole Alternative community – this has divided us all.”

tl;dr version: Mick thinks it’s the production crew as statues money isn’t an issue. It’s clear he isn’t happy as he is out of pocket too. Not a man to trifle with.

A Monty Python nod seems fitting here;

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Meanwhile some are blaming the lighting, sound and stage company ‘South West Group’ ( https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestGroup ) –  Since they were handling most of the production, a few people have emailed them to ask about what is going on with same response:

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately we can’t speculate on ALT-Fest (you would need to speak to the Promoters directly) however, SWG Events have pulled their involvement in the Production side of this event.

Many Thanks,

Tom

Could the whole thing be a production issue that has caused bands to cancel?

Meanwhile, cancelled bands have started announcing tour dates around the UK and Europe in various different places and some stages such as the Steampunk and SOPHIE stage are stating they’ll have a ‘Plan B’ for those who maybe potentially left without a festival.

Either way, the ‘Announcement before Monday’ that came a few days ago seems an awful long way off still.

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Add transportation, journalists, entertainment and venue to the ‘Cancelled’ list.

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Yep. The coach company supplying Alt-Fest has now started issuing refunds citing cancellation. One of the main journalists, Alix Fox has also posted claiming cancellation. To ‘Top’ this off (ha.) the circus of horrors have also just been officially told the towel is thrown in and to keep hush about it. Kudos to Dok Haze of the CoH for breaking protocol to please the fans. Alt-Fest has disappeared off the venue’s own personal site and are responding with a copy-and-paste email to all enquiries, asking fans to speak to Alt-Fest HQ.

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Amazon have started issuing ticket refunds and people have started opening bank claims for refunds. There are a lot of angry people currently and a facebook community has been set up to help those seeking financial relief from this debacle and to allow people a chance to vent at what has probably been a stressful few days.

ALT-FEST 2014 – WHERE IS MY MONEY?!

 

 

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Anyway. It’s been a rough old ride so far with nothing today out of Alt-Fest HQ.  A lot of chatter is happening surrounding the next steps; If it’s cancelled, a full refund can be issued. With Alt-Fest taking their Terms and Conditions off their site so people can’t review them it’s been difficult to find this information out. However, various screenshots have come to light showing that “If the festival lineup changes etc, or it still goes ahead” (Even in a pub with 2 bands, called alt-fest) then NO REFUNDS have  to be issued.

We all hope they do the right thing.

Alt-Fest organisers release more information to the angry crowds..

Well. Not really. They actually released a statement about making a statement in the the near future. Well, Monday. 11 days before the festival is supposed to go live and way WAY too late for anyone to get refunds on hotels, flights etc.

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   “We at Alt-Fest HQ would like to sincerely apologise for our silence over the last 24    hours. Currently we are working all hours to deal with some extremely      challenging & stressful issues for Alt-Fest. We will be able to provide an official    statement with full information before Monday and answer any questions you may  have at that time. We want you to know that we have been doing everything we  can to take the right steps for you: our fans, friends & customers – we assure you we  only have your best interests at heart.
 Missy and Dom”

 

This hasn’t sat well with many people as you can imagine. Over a day and a half of silence to be greeted with this has divided the crowd even further. They currently sit in two camps:

1) “HEY GUYS THANK YOU FOR GETTING IN TOUCH WE’RE ALL BEHIND YOU, WOOO, GO ALT-FEST, KEEP THE SCENE ALIVE!”

These people are in the minority and are taking the ‘Blind Faith’ approach, much like you see with fundamentalist christians. Despite being presented with overwhelming facts about how the bands are pulling out like rats leaving a sinking ship, Alt-Fest organisers diddling  people out of their hard earned money in the past (Miss Alternative UK 2011) and clearly cannot organise a piss up in a brewery, these people support them nevertheless. It’s admirable, but they just want a festival (If that’s even what is left) to go to.

Then there are the more rational people that sit in this camp:

2) “WHERE THE FUCK IS MY MONEY, JUST GIVE US THE FACTS, STOP SCREWING US AROUND”

These people have every reason to be pissed off, they’ve lost – at the very least – £150 each if this is cancelled. Their main concern at this point is getting money back or finding out if there is still a festival to go to.

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Bands aren’t happy either. Here you can see that XP8 have amongst many other known and loved bands haven’t had a response from the organisers after 5 emails, requesting information. I too, would be upsetti at this.

Gary Numan has now stuck his head up to say “Yep, it’s cancelled, go get your money from your vendors”.

The longer Missy &  Dom sit in silence about this, the more the rumour mills turns and the angrier people are getting. Some are even raising the question “Even if this still goes ahead, do we want anything to do with this now?”

Someone might be having some deep, deep regrets now:

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What has happened to Alt-Fest?

There’s a hell of a lot of feeling running high about Alt-Fest being potentially cancelled. As there is radio silence from Alt-Fest HQ for over 24 hours now, Let’s have a run down of the events leading up to this event.

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Two years ago (or thereabouts) I heard about this ace crowdfunded festival called Alt-Fest. It promised amazing bands and at the height of crowdfunding success with tickets for 2 at £150 each, who could say no? I was one of the first 100 people to back Alt-Fest. I was pretty proud at this.

Soon the target was met by over 205% – It was underway, it was official. [1] The site popped up. Interviews happened, bands started being announced over the coming years. A few of the older promoters, ones who have been running alt clubs and putting on bands for years had a grumble – How? How could a first time festival afford this?

We ignored the naysayers. This was going to be epic. KMFDM, Atari Teenage Riot had confirmed, this was going to be AWESOME.

More people began to ask questions when InFest festival decided not to run an event in 2014. A large factor in this was quite obviously the fact that Alt-Fest had surfaced and was drawing the usual crowd away now with bands like CombiChrist and XP8. When asked why, Alt-Fest HQ weren’t aware of another industrial / alt festival taking place the weekend after. Oh. OK then. Thankfully InFest managed to raise enough support to continue.

Soon after KMFDM and ATR both pulled out. Oh well, there still a fantastic lineup. Media buzz gathered. Stories in the Metro and across the internet spoke of how a crowdfunded festival licenced for up to 20k people was hitting the country next year. There was now international interest from the alternative crowd overseas.
Things ticked on until this year – Ticket prices getting steadily more expensive as promised by Dom and Missy – The organisers. Boy, was I glad to have got mine first! I even got my name on the Alt-Fest wall of fame for having the faith to support them so early on.

It got to May 2014. Huge headline acts- Manson, Numan and their ilk were all touted. Huge numbers of people bought tickets to see Manson’s only UK 2014 gig.

It was about here I got a little worried. A few people had stumbled on a B2B crowdfunding site where Alt-Fest were seeking investors, promising to pay back 10%+ of what they were looking for which came to the princely sum of £400,000. This was deleted soon after and after discussion on facebook, Dominic PERSONALLY assured me and friends of mine that this was just rumour and conjecture and that they need the support. Man, did I feel a bit guilty. Maybe my internet sleuth skills should take a break.

Tuesday 29th July 2014 – A band called Beholder announced that Alt-Fest was cancelled.

What the hell? That’s no way true. Not at the 11th hour. Rumour starts to fly as Rob Ferguson who runs Trancend PR stated over twitter that all 5 of his bands had been told to do one. Initially the reaction was that this was just the SOPHIE stage, but Rob then came out to say that this was including one of the main stage acts. [2]

Virtual Festivals ran an article saying more bands had been annoucing similar on both their personal social medias and officially. Cradle of Filth. Killing Joke. Caustic. All these bands cited the same reason – It’s cancelled. [3]

No way. The Alt-Fest Facebook page was now a war zone, people demanding answers will still no word (officially) from the HQ. Radio silence was now in effect, ignoring all the people who have paid hundreds of pounds at the very least to be a part of their vision.

More bands came out saying the same. Combichrist. Enemo J and finally Marilyn Manson confirming the rumours of cancellation late Tuesday evening.

 

Alt-Fest HQ had over 200 posts questioning what the hell was going on. Their lips were sealed, their response however was to delete ALL of the posts and remove the ability for people to post on the facebook. Of course, not to be deterred, people flocked to the last post available to discuss the issue which now stands at about 1,100 comments.

Feelings run fairly high – The majority are feeling like it was over, that’s it. There’s no way this can happen now. Some spoke rational sense along the lines of “Look, wait and see what they say.” Some figured they were just pulling off one stage, some thought it might have been just a disgruntled ex-employee taking revenge. Still nothing from Alt-Fest HQ or their PR agency – Full Fat PR, based in London (Run by Oliver Bartlam, also a shareholder in Alt-Fest) [4].

Either way, everyone was nervous as there was a lot of money on the line here. People coming as far from Brazil, the US and even Australia have non-refundable plane tickets. Even locals have hotels which they can’t refund. Train tickets. Bus tickets.

Wednesday rolled around. Again, no annoucement from Alt-Fest HQ. Green Stewards, came out to say they’ve been told it’s cancelled and that an NPD has been slapped on them too to ensure they say nothing until an official announcement has been made.

Tangerine fields – the glamping company started issuing refunds for.. well.. appearntly no reason. They emailed people to say it had been cancelled. [5]

It had also come to light that the organisers have attempted to run events before too; an ‘Alternative Miss UK’ event back in 2011 where the event never materialised despite people paying for tickets etc. [6]

One thing is for certain – Even if Alt-Fest did go ahead after this, how much faith would people really have left? The reverberations of this will be felt around the alternative community for years. People will be less inclined to part with their hard earned money to new projects, festivals or impromptu events because they’ve seen how it can terribly wrong.

What about Club AntiChrist in London, run by the very same Missy and Dom – Will that survive?
I’ll update this more as more news presents itself.

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alt-fest/alt-fest-multi-genre-crowd-led-alternative-festiva

[2] https://twitter.com/TranscendRob/status/494094942525206528

[3] http://www.virtualfestivals.com/latest/news/14774

[4] http://wearefullfat.com/client/alt-fest/

[5] http://i59.tinypic.com/2pt9qxc.jpg

[6] http://uberrock.co.uk/news-updates/94-april-news-updates/2302-miss-alternative-uk-2011-cancelled.html