AFTER much controversy, WOWFest has been cancelled for 2012.
WOWFest were ordered to pay £140,000 upfront costs to cover public safety after concerns were raised that organisers could not pay for their outgoings and that tickets sales were poor. Organisers, as expected, were unable to pay this cost leading Hampshire Constabulary to challenge the granted licence, asking for it to be revoked.
Although talks were held between organisers and the Isle of Wight Council about reducing the number of visitors to just 5,000, the proposal was unsuccessful.
WOWFest feel they have been forced to postpone the event, however speaking yesterday Cllr David Pugh said: “I would challenge their claim that they have been forced to postpone the event, and that a factor was “damage inflicted by anti-festival lobbyists”.
“Whilst it remains our view that this event should never have been granted a licence, its failure is entirely down to the organisers and their inability to put in place sufficient measures that would have met the delivery of the four licensing objectives.
“It was only a matter of time before this conclusion was reached, and it is a shame that the organisers have sought to divert attention from their own shortcomings in making this announcement.
“It remains a particular concern of ours that so much public resource has been used preparing for this event – such as all the IW Act documentation – when it is now clear that did not intend to pay this by the deadline, if at all.
“We now wish to see not just the licence revoked, but to ensure that all the ticket income money is refunded – either from WOW Fest Ltd or The Music Shop (one of their other companies) which has been selling tickets on their behalf. This has to be a priority – and no-one should be left out of pocket.
“This has been a very sorry tale from start to finish, and has caused much unnecessary anxiety along the way. I also hope that the Island’s strong reputation for successful festivals will not in any way be damaged by the negative publicity of this failed event.”