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ATP hits back at Dash and Zeitgeist over Jabberwocky

By | Published on Monday 18 August 2014


Independent promoter ATP has hit out at claims made by two companies involved in its Jabberwocky festival, following the event’s last minute cancellation last week.

In a statement on Friday, the live firm claimed that ticketing platform Dash Tickets had changed the terms and conditions of sale listed on its website in an attempt to avoid responsibility for providing refunds. And that PR firm The Zeitgeist Agency, which stated last week that it was suing ATP over unpaid fees, was sacked “for doing a disappointingly substandard job”.

As previously reported, the two day event was due to begin on Friday, but was cancelled last Tuesday afternoon due to poor ticket sales.

“In the past ATP has weathered losses such as this and gone on with the show, taking huge direct financial blows as an independent company”, said ATP boss Barry Hogan in a statement announcing the cancellation. “But on this occasion, with an event of this scale and the high production costs that come with it – if we had gone ahead, it would have 100% been the end of ATP. We do not take this decision lightly and it was the hardest we’ve ever had to make”.

Shortly after that announcement, Zeitgeist issued its own statement revealing that it had launched legal action over unpaid fees in July, saying that “[ATP parent company] Willwal’s representatives have revealed to us in writing that they used the funds destined for us in order to protect payments for venue and artists, rather than settle essential and agreed amounts to our company”.

Then Dash Tickets informed ticket holders that it was also taking legal advice over ATP’s statement, in which the promoter had said that “refunds will be available to all customers at the point of purchase”. This, Dash said, was not in line with its terms and conditions, which put the onus for refunding on the promoter. The ticketing firm also said that it had already passed all funds over to ATP, and insisted that it had merely been a technology provider, rather than a traditional ticket agent.

Responding to these statements from two of its suppliers, ATP said in its new announcement on Friday: “The claim that ATP has received all the funds for Jabberwocky is not true. We have not received a payment from Dash for more than two months. Any advances from the sales before that went straight into event costs such as various artist fees and venue hire. But we have not received all the funds for Jabberwocky sales from Dash, and for them to make statements on their social media saying we have in fact received all these funds is simply not true. If that was the case, then we would not have struggled to stage the event”.

On the subject of Dash’s terms, ATP says: “As per their terms and conditions at the time Jabberwocky went on sale, we were always under the impression that in the event of a cancellation, all refunds would be processed by Dash, as the funds were sent directly to Dash’s PayPal account – not ATP’s. Since then, Dash’s terms and conditions have changed on their website without our knowledge, well after Jabberwocky was on-sale, in an attempt to reflect no responsibility for the payments accepted into their PayPal account”.

The accusation that Dash changed its terms and conditions without informing its clients is a pretty serious one that could certainly be damaging to the ticketing provider if proven true.

Though it may well transpire that Dash’s T+Cs aren’t so relevant anyway, given that ATP is unlikely to make any refunds directly, meaning those who bought their Jabberwocky tickets from the event’s main ticketing outlet will turn to their banks and credit card providers to get their money back. And, one ticketing expert told CMU, it is Dash who the payment provider firms will most likely hit out at, once all those refunds have been made, because they don’t have a direct relationship with ATP, even if, as Dash claims, that’s where most of the money went.

Attempts to contact Dash for comment have not been returned, and the company has said nothing else publicly since ATP’s latest statement was published.

On the subject of Zeitgeist, ATP continues: “The PR firm we originally engaged for Jabberwocky, Zeitgeist, felt it was necessary to announce to the world that they were taking legal action against us. What they neglected to mention was that we actually terminated their services for doing a disappointingly substandard job on the Jabberwocky press campaign and are in a legal dispute with them over the amount owed”.

The promoter adds: “When we dismissed them, they also started circulating rumours that Jabberwocky was in trouble, which of course did not help with advance sales and unfortunately, became a self-fulfilling prophecy”.

In response to that, Zeitgeist’s Jamie Stockwood told CMU: “It’s good of ATP to finally respond on this matter. It would appear that our company, the ticketing agency, all suppliers and all the disappointed fans were wrong about Willwal Ltd. Even their partners have distanced themselves from the situation. This is a matter for the courts now but we are sure the overwhelming recent media coverage and ongoing investigations will ensure the good will out”.

In reference to the event partners mentioned by Stockwood, ATP’s statement concludes: “We are devastated the event didn’t happen. It has always been a dream to finally get together two of our long time friends – Pitchfork and Primavera – and Jabberwocky was to be this dream realised”.

Full information for ticketholders on how to seek refunds is available here.