Surrey music event Guilfest ceases trading after poor sales

Rain at Guilfest in 2011 Mr Scott said it rained on Guilfest last year and this year he had never seen anything like it

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A Surrey music festival that has run for 21 years has ceased trading because of poor ticket sales this summer.

Organisers of Guilfest said the festival had faced the worst weather conditions in its history, along with intense competition from other events.

Scotty Events Ltd, the company that ran the festival, said matters were in the hands of an insolvency practitioner.

Tony Scott, from Scotty Events, said the company had been left with debts of about £300,000.

He said the company's debts included payments to cover tax, VAT, PAYE, Surrey Police, Guildford Borough Council and private individuals.

Jools Holland, Olly Murs and Bryan Ferry were among headline acts at the three-day festival at Stoke Park in Guildford this summer, and about 20,000 people were expected each day.

Organisers had hoped the festival would be unaffected by rain, and water would run off the chalk-based site.

But Mr Scott said the park turned into a quagmire.

'Sticky bog'

Start Quote

I'd love to see Guilfest keep going, but I think it's got to be somebody who takes the helm or somebody who would need deeper pockets”

End Quote Tony Scott

He said: "It rained on the Saturday and Sunday in 2011, but this year I've never known anything like it.

"It was a quagmire by Saturday and [by] Sunday it had turned into sticky bog."

He said most of the people who attended Guilfest were local and were able to make last-minute decisions on whether to buy tickets, depending on the weather.

He added: "There was a lot of competition this year. The Olympics were on, a lot of people were going to that. Farnborough Air Show was on the same weekend as us for the first time this year.

"There was Tom Jones playing up the road at Sandown Park, Bruce Springsteen was playing in London, and there was an awful lot going on around our weekend as well as the bad weather."

He said: "I'd love to see Guilfest keep going, but I think it's got to be somebody who takes the helm or somebody who would need deeper pockets to do the job just to make sure it goes through."

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