Business News Gigs & Festivals

Questions over upcoming ATP festivals as Pontins says they are cancelled

By | Published on Tuesday 1 March 2016


Organisers of ATP have denied that two of their upcoming UK festivals have been cancelled, despite the venue – Pontins in Prestatyn – saying otherwise.

With the two festivals due to take place over two weekends in April and curated by comedian Stewart Lee and the band Drive Like Jehu, rumours of the cancellations began to circulate yesterday afternoon. It was noticed that Pontins were offering chalets for hire to the general public on the dates of the two festivals. When asked why this was, Pontins said simply that: “ATP has been cancelled by the organiser”.

But responding to this, ATP boss Barry Hogan said in a statement: “We have just spoken to Pontins and we are currently resolving this miscommunication. Our events are going ahead as planned”. Exactly what this means isn’t clear – both ATP and Pontins declined to comment further. However, yesterday evening Pontins maintained that “we have it down that the event is cancelled”.

There have been issues with ATP events before, of course. In 2014, its London-based Jabberwocky festival was pulled with just three days’ notice. And in 2012, a falling out with Butlins saw it move its holiday camp-based events back to Pontins, where they had originated, before making the decision to stop running such festivals altogether the following year. They were then revived last year.

Back in 2014, when Jabberwocky went under, a major problem for ticketholders was working out where they should claim refunds from, with ATP in dispute with its ticketing provider Dash Tickets as to who was responsible for such things. Dash claimed it was just a technology provider not a conventional ticket agent.

ATP is using Ticket Tailor this time, which similarly operates as a technology provider rather than payment processor. Ticket Tailor confirmed to CMU yesterday: “We don’t hold any money from ticket sales. Everything goes directly to the event organiser”.

In the case of Jabberwocky, many ticketholders ultimately received refunds from Paypal, which holds reserves against payments on event tickets in case of a cancellation. ATP is now processing payments through Stripe, which does sometimes hold reserves in some cases at its own discretion. It is not clear if that is the case here.

As of this morning, Pontins is still offering ‘Family Breaks’ to the general public on the dates of the two festivals.