Bestival and its sister event Camp Bestival have faced financial scrutiny and uncertainty, culminating in a buyout by Richmond Group.
The events, run by DJ Rob da Bank, his wife Josie and team, have become mainstays in the UK festival calendar, but financial problems put the events under scrutiny.
Access plots a mini-history of the brands…
2004: Bestival, a four-day music festival at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight is founded as an offshoot of Rob da Bank’s Sunday Best record label and club nights. 10,000 people attend, growing to 55,000 in 2010.
2008: The first Camp Bestival is launched. Headliners include Chuck Berry, the Flaming Lips. Camping issues force some to sleep in their cars.
July 2008: The Flaming Lips label Camp Bestival the “best festival we’ve played”
12–13 June 2015: Bestival announces it is heading to North America. The event is held at Toronto Islands and co-organised by SFX Entertainment and Toronto promoter Embrace. The headliners were Florence + The Machine and Nas performing Illmatic
15 December 2016: Bestival organisers reveal they are moving the festival from the Isle of Wight to Dorset at the Lulworth Estate in September on the same site as Camp Bestival
Rob da Bank said the decision was down to the “boring economics of getting people on to the island”
4 May 2017: Bestival announced that there will be no Bestival Toronto in 2017, and they are “aiming to return in the future”
30 September–1 October 2017: Dates of the inaugural edition of Bestival Bali at Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. The headliners were Alt-J and Rudimental
28 July: Camp Bestival gets underway with homely tv chef Mary Berry making a bizarre appearance as Rick Astley’s drummer. Rob Da Bank described it as one of the festival’s “odder moments”
29 July: Heavy rain and high winds put an end to Camp Bestival music festival
Organisers announced the closure of the arenas on social media on the Sunday afternoon. They said they were “utterly devastated and heartbroken” to have made the “tough decision” after being advised not to reopen them for safety reasons
17 September: Richmond Group, who loaned money to the Bestival and Camp Bestival music festivals, lodges plans at the High Court to put the festivals into administration
23 September: A statement on the Camp Bestival website acknowledged the event faced “financial challenges” but said there was “no reason” it would not go ahead in 2019
26 September: Richmond Group says it has offered to buy the brand and its assets for £1.1m. Richmond Group said its plans included the continuation of Camp Bestival
28 September: Bestival and Camp Bestival are officially bought by Richmond Group, controlled by the loan broker James Benamor, whose £1.1m offer for Bestival’s assets and brand was accepted.
Richmond had lent Bestival Group £1.6m in February last year.
Benamor, whose business is valued at more than £1bn, founded Amigo Loans, a Bournemouth-based company that offers quick guarantor-backed loans, which was floated on the stock exchange in July.