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Rob Da Bank wins legal battle over Bestival loan

By | Published on Tuesday 14 June 2022

Camp Bestival

A London court last week ruled in favour of Rob Da Bank in his dispute with ticketing firm TicketLine Network Ltd over money it loaned his Bestival company prior to its collapse in 2018.

The Bestival company – which promoted both Bestival and its sister event Camp Bestival – went into administration in 2018 after facing various financial challenges in the preceding years.

It was actually forced into administration by a money-lender, which for a short time looked like it might take over the Bestival brand from da Bank – real name Robert Gorham – despite the festival being very closely linked to its co-founders, Gorham and his wife Josie.

However, in the end the Gorhams teamed up with Live Nation and SJM to buy the Bestival brand from that money-lender, albeit in order to continue staging the more family orientated Camp Bestival, rather than Bestival itself.

As it went into administration, the Bestival company also owed money to Ticketline, which had advanced a million pounds to the festival business via two payments between 2016 and 2018. With no company left to go after, the ticketing firm sought to recover the £650,000 it was still owed directly from Gorham and his fellow Bestival director John Hughes.

It did so based on the argument that, aware of the Bestival company’s financial problems, when it advanced cash to the festival it did so on the condition that Gorham and Hughes would personally guarantee the loan. But Gorham insisted he had never agreed to personally guarantee any advanced monies. Which is why Ticketline went legal.

In court last month, Ticketline claimed that it was clearly stated when it advanced Bestival its monies between 2016 and 2018 that Gorham and Hughes were personally liable for the debt.

But Gorham argued that he was not hands-on involved in the finances of the Bestival events – being focused on the creative and consumer-facing side of the business – so was not part of the negotiations with the ticketing company. And more importantly, he stressed in court: “I never signed up for a personal loan”.

Having heard both side’s arguments, the court ruled on Friday that Gorham was right, he hadn’t agreed to take on any personal liabilities in relation to monies being advanced to the Bestival company.

Welcoming that ruling, Gorham stated: “Josie and I are so happy and relieved [that] truth and justice have prevailed, and that four years of exhausting legal proceedings are behind us. We are so grateful to our incredibly loyal friends and families for keeping us going – and to our legal team of Russell, Sara and Jonathan, for proving our innocence beyond any doubt”.

“We are now looking forward to getting back to what matters most to us”, he added, “our kids and families, messing about with mates in fields and festivals, and launching our brand new Camp Bestival festival in August”.