Business News Gigs & Festivals Live Business

ATP promises Pontins festivals will go ahead, venue says it has “had no funds”

By | Published on Wednesday 2 March 2016


ATP organisers yesterday issued a statement assuring ticketholders that next month’s Stewart Lee and Drive Like Jehu-curated festivals would go ahead as planned. Though at the same time, the operator of the events’ venue – Pontins – was saying that missed payments from the ATP company meant that there was not so such certainty.

As previously reported, questions were raised about the two festivals after Pontins began selling tickets to its Prestatyn holiday park to the general public on the dates of the festivals. When asked about this, Pontins said that the events had been cancelled by ATP. The promoter in turn said that this had been a “miscommunication” and was being resolved.

In a new statement yesterday, Pontins said: “From today we can state that we have had no funds from ATP and therefore cannot confirm that the event is going ahead”.

Then yesterday evening, ATP said on Facebook: “For clarity, and to reassure customers who have purchased tickets or travel for the upcoming festivals, these events will go ahead as scheduled at Pontins Prestatyn on 15-17 Apr and 22-24 Apr. We would like to apologise for our silence today, and for not getting back to all of your questions individually. We have been working with Pontins management to release a full statement confirming this within the next 24 hours”.

Meanwhile, speaking to The Quietus yesterday, Stewart Lee said that he knew no more about the situation than anyone else, despite being a curator of one of the affected festivals.

The comedian said that he had been “keen” to take on the curation role, because he had enjoyed ATP festivals he’d been to in the past as a punter. However, he added: “Since ‘Jerry Springer: The Opera’, I’ve made a rule of never getting involved in anything that’s bigger than [just] me [on my own]. Because you can’t keep track of everything. And this is the first thing I’ve done in fifteen years that [is] like that. And this is exactly why I don’t normally do it, because there’s stuff happening and you can’t immediately find out what it is”.

He added: “At the moment, of course, it’s terrifying for people. It’s not great for me either, to be honest. You know, I’ve got a babysitter, I’ve made plans, so in that respect I’m in the same boat as everyone else. I didn’t sleep last night, I thought I was gonna have a stroke or something. I suppose the way these things work is that ATP hoped that whatever good reputation I might have would become attached to the event… but the other side of that is that when things go bad, that becomes attached to me! The one time I do something like this, it would just be typical if it goes wrong. But I hope it goes ahead. I’d like to see that line-up happen”.

Elsewhere, Buzzfeed is reporting that ATP’s parent company Willwal Ltd took out a short term loan in January from a company that specialises in helping small companies with cashflow problems. It is not clear if that is directly related to the current situation.