First the meltdown, now the liquidation
The Facebook page may be history, the Twitter account may be dead and gone, but the Hope & Glory Festival’s website remains online (for now) like a portal back to a happier time.
“Try to imagine the very best bands,” it says, “combined with a decadent Victoriana carnival, with a heavy dose of outrageous sideshows.”
A month after the event, however, the outrageous sideshow is the only thing that anyone remembers. And now the final straw: the company behind the festival has gone into liquidation with debts of almost £890,000.
Hope & Glory promised a weekend of acts including The Fratellis, Razorlight and Hacienda Classical against the “stunning Victorian backdrop of William Brown Street”, but shortly after the festival opened on Saturday August 5, social media began to buzz with complaints about queues, delays and the difficulty of moving through the crowds.
By the close of the first day – which turned out to be the only day – reports painted a picture of an event in chaos with acts like Charlotte Church and the Lightning Seeds abruptly cancelled, and Tim Booth, of headliners James, being openly abused by the festival’s own Twitter account.
The aftermath included a startling Facebook rant by the organiser, a 40-car-pile-up of an interview on Talk Radio, and the fact that ticket outlets were being besieged by angry ticket holders demanding to know how they could get their money back.
Today insolvency firm Butcher Woods said that 32 creditors are owed £884,984 by the Staffordshire-based Hope & Glory Festivals company. One of these creditors is Liverpool City Council, with a spokesperson telling the BBC that it is “seeking recovery of costs associated with the clean-up operation”.
They added: “Any lessons learned will be implemented for future events run by outside organisations.”
The ticketing websites Eventbrite and Skiddle say they have given full refunds to those with tickets for the cancelled Sunday, with weekend ticket holders receiving a 50 per cent refund. According to Eventbrite, the organisation is “aggressively pursuing Hope & Glory” to get the money back, while Ben Sebborn of Skiddle said it was “very unlikely that Skiddle will receive reimbursement from the festival organisers”.
He said that Skiddle had made attempts “to co-operate with the festival owners,” but “it became clear that our customers would remain out of pocket unless we intervened”.
Clicking the "Buy Tickets" button on the Hope & Glory festival’s website still promises the curious visitor “the best weekend of music, wild fun and outrageous silliness in Liverpool”.
With so many other city festivals to choose from, ranging from disco to reggae to psychedelia and much more, the insistence that Hope & Glory would be “the best” seemed optimistic even back in July.