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Hop Farm festival to return, as Kent paper reveals collapsed operating company’s debts

By | Published on Tuesday 5 March 2013

Music Festivals plc

Vince Power’s Hop Farm Festival will return this summer, despite the event taking the live music veteran’s Music Festivals plc to the wall last year.

Local paper Kent On Sunday has dug through the papers surrounding the collapse of Music Festivals plc, which went under last September just over a year after it was set up, taking subsidiary Kent Festival Ltd, which operated the Hop Farm event, with it. The Hop Farm company reportedly owed £4.8 million when it collapsed, including to unpaid talent (Peter Gabriel was owed £100,000 and Suede £46,000, the paper says), local service providers, and to Kent Police, who have confirmed they were owed £22,648 in relation to services provided for the Hop Farm event.

Clearly annoyed by that unpaid bill and unrecoverable debt, Kent Police & Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes hit out when the Kent On Sunday called, telling the paper: “Kent Police is [already] having to cope with a massive reduction in the government grant it receives as government cuts bite”.

She added: “This has led to the loss of nearly one in five of the workforce. The Chief Constable and all his staff are working hard to still deliver a great service in the face of these cuts. Any private organisation that holds an event on an agreed financial basis with the force and then ‘fails to pay’ is letting down not just the force, but all the people of Kent”.

Shortly after the collapse of Music Festivals plc, it was announced that Power had reacquired the rights to Spanish festival Benicassim, probably the most high profile and certainly more successful of his former company’s events. However, according to Kent On Sunday, Power also has the rights to relaunch the Hop Farm festival, and plans to do so.

Power recently told the paper: “As you know, we had a difficult year last year. Kent Festival Ltd was a different entity to Music Festivals plc and so had to be dealt with separately, which has taken some time. It was always my intention to do the Hop Farm, I have the rights to do the Hop Farm and the Hop Farm will take place from 5-7 Jul 2013”.

At the moment the Hop Farm website is still credited to Music Festivals plc and mainly talks about last summer’s event, though a spokesman has told Kent On Sunday that an announcement about this summer’s festival will be made soon. Though, the paper adds, the PR rep “refused to be drawn on the scale of the festival and what investors were in place to prevent any repeat of the problems of 2013”.