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.

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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