Pemberton Cancellation Earns First Threatened Lawsuit
Court documents and company registries shed new light on a U.S. production company’s involvement in the Pemberton Music Festival’s demise, the Vancouver Sun reports.
Huka Entertainment, based in New Orleans, has been lauded for producing massive music festivals in unique locations with a boutique feel. But last Thursday its reputation came under fire when Pemberton Music Festival LP and 1115666 B.C. Ltd filed for bankruptcy and the popular July event was cancelled.
Up until a month before the cancellation, Twisted Tree Circus GP, incorporated in November 2013, controlled Pemberton Music Festival LP.
Twisted Tree Circus’ two directors were Evan Harrison and Abel Joseph (A.J) Niland, according to B.C. Registry Services documents. They are also the CEO and chief experience officer of Huka. Both weren’t available for comment Tuesday.
On April 19, Twisted Tree Circus was replaced as general partner of PMFLP by 1115666. Within a month, 1115666 and PMFLP had both filed for bankruptcy and ticket holders were told May 18 that there would be no automatic refunds for the cancelled event, the Sun’s Nick Eagland writes.
Separately, organizers face at least one lawsuit that will rattle their cages.
William Morris Endeavor’s Marc Geiger tells Billboard that he is personally coming after the festival's organizers. "I want each of them to know: 'I'm coming after you personally.' We're going to pursue all of these people to the full extent of the law," Geiger said.
The world’s largest and most powerful talent agency, WME represents a number of acts that were scheduled to play the festival including HAIM, Big Sean and Tegan and Sara.
Geiger believes the individuals responsible for the cancellation were promoters AJ Niland and Evan Harrison of Huka Entertainment, Pemberton land owners and Janspec Holdings Limited investors Amanda Girling and Jeremy Turner and investor Jim Dales.
"You can't do this much damage to the festival ecosystem and think you can get away with it," Geiger says. "This is fraud, pure and simple. The only difference between Pemberton and Fyre (Festival) is that Pemberton sold their event with trees instead of supermodels."
The bankrupt businesses behind the cancelled Pemberton Music Festival may owe ticket holders and other creditors more than $16.7 million, according to documents obtained by Postmedia.
And among the first creditors that will be paid out include a company connected to one of the directors of the companies that has filed for bankruptcy.
Pemberton Music Festival Limited Partnership, which along with 1115666 B.C. Ltd filed for bankruptcy May 18, has $6.6 million in assets but a deficiency of $10.1 million, according to a statement of affairs provided by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada.