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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Essential Festival in liquidation
Essential Festival, Bristol
Trouble stemmed from an ill-fated event in Bristol
The company behind the Essential Festival has gone into liquidation owing 450,000, including money to fans who bought tickets for a cancelled event, BBC News Online has learned.

Essential Entertainments staged an ill-fated music festival in Bristol in May and was forced to cancel another in London two months later.

The festival had grown from a small university event in Brighton in the early 1990s to one of the UK's biggest independent music weekends.

Jools Holland
Jools Holland was due to appear at the London show
Its demise comes after a previous company set up to run it, Essential Music Festivals, went into liquidation in 1997.

Now, fans are calling for organisers to be banned from staging a festival again.

Essential caused anger among rock fans when it cancelled a number of bands at short notice for the Bristol event and refused to offer refunds.

The ensuing outcry led to "disastrous" financial problems, forcing them to call off the London event.

Stars including Jools Holland and Zero 7 were due to play at Hackney Marshes.


I'm hoping that I can get something back - I'm extremely angry

Sarah Geismar
Fans who bought tickets for that show through ticket agencies have been given refunds, but a small number, who sent money direct to Essential, are now waiting to hear whether they will get their money back.

One fan, Sarah Geismar, 28, from north London, spent 152 on four tickets for her and her friends.

"I'm hoping that I can get something back. I'm extremely angry," she told BBC News Online.

"I've been to the last three festivals and they were really good.

"I've heard that they might be able to start up again under another name and hold another festival next year, but I just think that shouldn't be allowed."

Wound-up

Official receivers in Brighton, where the company was based, are now trying to track down Essential Entertainments' directors.

The company was served with a winding-up order at the start of October.

Promoter Ish Ali, who had operational control over the festival, was disqualified from being a company director for five years in February 2000.

The previous company, Essential Music Festivals, went into voluntary liquidation owing 240,000 in 1997.

Mr Ali, 38, started the festival at Sussex University, Brighton, and developed it into one of the UK's best-loved small-scale events.

It specialised in dance, reggae and roots music, with acts including Massive Attack, Fatboy Slim, Public Enemy and James Brown appearing on its stages.


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See also:

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