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Bestival’s money-lender is trying to buy the company

By | Published on Thursday 27 September 2018

Camp Bestival

The loan company that recently filed legal papers confirming its intent to force the Bestival Group into administration yesterday said that it had now made an offer to buy the festival firm, a move that it says will assure Camp Bestival 2019 can go ahead.

The Bestival company itself confirmed last weekend that it had had “some financial challenges” of late. This followed media reports that money lender the Richmond Group – which seemingly loaned the festival £1.6 million early last year – had filed administration notices with the High Court.

It its statement, Bestival HQ said that, despite the ongoing financial challenges, “the process we are in allows a new partner to come on board with the financial commitments required to deliver Camp Bestival 2019 in its finest form”.

Yesterday the Richmond Group announced that it had “made an offer of £1.1 million to purchase the brand and assets of Bestival Group, with the intention of running the successful Camp Bestival going forward”.

The boss of the loan outfit, James Benamor, then said: “We have been fans and supporters of Bestival since the beginning. Our children have grown up with wonderful memories of these festivals”.

The Richmond Group is based in Bournemouth in Dorset, the county which has always hosted Camp Bestival and where, as of last year, the main Bestival festival has also been staged. Noting this local connection, Benamor’s statement went on: “Bestival is an example of Dorset being world class and we are keen to ensure that this fantastic institution goes on to delight families and local businesses for many years to come”.

Although in his comments Benamor talks about the Bestival enterprise at large, his company’s official statement only makes a commitment to continue running Camp Bestival, the more family-orientated event that spun off from the main Bestival festival in 2008. In the always competitive UK festivals market, Camp Bestival arguably has a stronger USP than the flagship Bestival event because of its family-orientated programming.

Bestival HQ’s statement last weekend also focused more on Camp Bestival, though that’s mainly because tickets are already on sale for the 2019 edition of that event, whereas nothing has been formally announced for Bestival 2019. Meanwhile many people are still awaiting refunds after the final day of Camp Bestival 2018 was cancelled because of bad weather conditions.

Although not commenting on outstanding issues with the 2018 edition, Benamor’s statement did specifically say that “under this offer all Camp Bestival 2019 tickets sold so far will be honoured”.

The Bestival company – and its founder Rob da Bank – have not yet commented on Richmond’s statement from yesterday. Though the fact that the two parties are currently issuing statements separately suggests that Richmond is not the “new partner” coming on board with some new finance that Bestival HQ was optimistically talking about on Sunday.