Corby festival operators set to go under

Flashpoint Festival, Rockingham Castle, Corby, July 15, 2017 NNL-170715-234854009
Flashpoint Festival, Rockingham Castle, Corby, July 15, 2017 NNL-170715-234854009

The firm behind a popular Corby festival that promised to be back after cancelling this year’s event is set to go under.

UK Events and Festivals Ltd, the operators of Flashpoint Festival, will be dissolved and struck off the Companies House register next month.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor was among the headliners last year.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor was among the headliners last year.

In December they announced they were postponing the 2018 festival but would transfer any tickets already bought to 2019.

But the firm did not book festival venue Rockingham Castle for 2019 despite discussions to do so.

Jason Burch, 48, paid £400 for VIP camping tickets for the 2018 event but fortunately bought them on a credit card, meaning he will not lose money.

He said: “We went in 2017 and we really enjoyed it, so much that we bought earlybirds as soon as we could.

Flashpoint Festival, Rockingham Castle, Corby, July 15, 2017 NNL-170715-234843009

Flashpoint Festival, Rockingham Castle, Corby, July 15, 2017 NNL-170715-234843009

“We first started hearing about it [the festival’s problems] in October or November and then they said they were holding it a year later.

“The reasons they gave were plausible, we thought.”

Mr Burch, a retail stock analyst from Bognor Regis, was set to visit Corby for the festival again with partner Ruth Frampton.

He said the affair had ‘left a sour taste’.

He said: “We’ve got a couple more festivals lined up but we’re a bit gutted about Flashpoint.

“It just leaves a sour taste in your mouth.”

The 2017 festival, headlined by stars such as Deacon Blue and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, was attended by thousands and a huge success.

UK Events and Festivals cited the World Cup and being unable to secure headliners of the calibre they wanted for 2018 as reasons for the postponement.

Festival-goers demanded refunds, saying they did not want their money held over for a year.

But they fell on deaf ears with many receiving no response to requests for their money back.

John Fitzgerald, 51, paid £313.45 for earlybird camping tickets for himself and wife Helen.

Mr Fitzgerald, an IT sales manager from Milton Keynes, said: “We paid on a debit card but fortunately we got our money back pretty quickly using chargeback.

“I think the tell-tale signs were there.

“I work in sales and if people don’t return phone calls or emails it’s not normally good.”

James Saunders Watson, the owner of Rockingham Castle, said: “After two successful years, the Flashpoint Festival had started to develop a great following as well as encouraging tourism in the local area.

“Rockingham Castle Estate was looking forward to welcoming Flashpoint back for a third year, as it was becoming established as one of the feature events that we run in the park.

“Therefore we were very surprised when UK Events announced that they were cancelling the 2018 festival, citing that they were unable to secure headline acts of the same calibre as in previous years as well as clashing with the World Cup final.

“At Rockingham we pride ourselves on offering a great visitor experience and as a result we are very disappointed that UK Events have fallen well short of our standards in this instance.”

UK Events and Festivals director Neil Butkeraitis did not respond to requests for a comment.

In December a statement on the festival’s Facebook page, which has since been deleted, said: “We have had to make the difficult decision to cancel Flashpoint 2018.

“But don’t worry, we will be back in 2019 and all your ticket bookings will be transferred over.

“We have been unable to secure headliners of the calibre we wanted for Flashpoint 2018 and we are so committed to Flashpoint and Rockingham that we do not want to proceed with a sub-standard line-up.

“The venue, brand and of course the Flashpointers deserve more than that.”