Creditors face an anxious wait for their cash after it was confirmed that Chichester Festivities are going into liquidation.
The news comes amid growing anger at the way the ailing two-week summer arts festival has handled its affairs since it was forced to cancel its flagship fireworks finale.
But alongside ticket-buyers’ frustrations at the Festivities’ lack of communication, there will also be great sadness at the passing of Chichester’s summer centrepiece.
For more than 30 years, the Festivities have brought some of the greatest names in entertainment to the city.
But the writing was on the wall as soon as waterlogged car parks at Goodwood racecourse forced the Festivities to call off their fireworks spectacular on July 14.
The fireworks concert was by a long way the Festivities’ biggest event and always the event which determined the overall success of the festival.
The Festivities tried to reschedule the concert for the end of September, but were forced to offer refunds to everyone who had bought tickets.
They warned earlier this summer that if sufficient people didn’t rebook, the festival was unlikely to be able to meet all its liabilities and ‘in all probability’ would have to go into liquidation.
That probability has now become a certainty – a tragic end for a festival which in recent years has struggled increasingly to cope with falling levels of commercial sponsorship.
The Festivities have refused to discuss the situation in recent weeks and have now repeated that refusal ‘until details are sent out to all our creditors’.
But in a statement on their website, they confirmed they had instructed Duncan Swift, of Moore Stephens LLP, High Street, Southampton, to convene a meeting of the company’s creditors to place the company into creditors voluntary liquidation.
Mr Swift said: “The implications are that the board of the Chichester Festivities has concluded the financial position is such it needs to go into liquidation sooner rather than later.
“By that I mean without the rerunning of the replacement concert in September they had been planning.
“It was not so much that they didn’t get sufficient response, but there was too much uncertainty as to the benefits of re-rerunning the concert.”
Mr Swift confirmed this was now effectively the end of the road for the Festivities.
Asked whether the debts were substantial, Mr Swift said: “One man’s substantial is another man’s insubstantial.”
Affected are one full-time post and a number of part-time posts: “It is certainly a decision – and I can say this from first-hand experience – that has not been taken lightly,” said Mr Swift.
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