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Alex James’ cheese festival goes bust

By | Published on Friday 4 November 2011

Alex James

The company behind the farm-based Harvest festival franchise, launched this year with two editions, one fronted by Alex James on is farm near Chipping Norton and the other by telly presenter and real life farmer Jimmy Doherty on his farm in Suffolk, has gone into administration.

The two events, which took place in September, described themselves as “a celebration of food and music for friends and for families”. The Alex James weekend attracted such luminaries as David Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson to watch performances by The Kooks and KT Tunstall, while eating cheese.

But it was last month the company behind the events, Big Wheel Promotions, ceased trading. Since then, its website has completely disappeared from the internet, while links to its ticketing platform from the Harvest websites no longer connect to anything. Having gone into administration, it leaves a number of creditors unpaid, including a primary school near Alex James’ farm who had booked some local talent for the event.

Kingham Primary School in Chipping Norton already ran its own annual music festival and was asked for help booking local talent, providing the event with seven acts for a fee of £14,000, half of which it is still owed.

The school’s headteacher Ed Read told The Cotswold Journal: “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”.

eFestivals says it’s under the impression the planned 2012 Harvest festivals (for which early bird tickets had already gone on sale) will still go ahead, though neither Alex James, Jimmy Doherty nor Big Wheel Promotions have as yet made any comment on the matter. James has been enthusing about how well his new range of cheeses for Asda is doing though.