Australia’s Mountain Sounds festival owes almost $1m to ticketing operator Eventbrite after this year’s event was cancelled.
The festival was called off just a week before it was due to take place in New South Wales earlier this month. Organisers blamed the state government’s so-called ‘war on festivals’, which has seen changes to licensing and safety requirements and increased costs following five drug-related deaths at festivals in six months.
Now, the Music Feeds website has reported that the festival is in liquidation. According to the report, Mountain Sounds owes hundreds of creditors over $1.5m.
That total amount includes $893,000 owed to Eventbrite, which has already confirmed that full refunds have been issued to everyone that purchased their tickets through its platform.
Eventbrite had not responded to a request for comment from TheTicketingBusinessNews ahead of publication.
Music Feeds said Mountain Sounds’ organisers also owe $89,000 in tax. Artists on the bill are reportedly owed money, with alternative rock artist Courtney Barnett owed almost $100,000.
The report notes that the festival has just over $130,000 in assets, and insolvency firm Shaw Gidley has been appointed as liquidator.
Mountain Sounds became the second NSW festival to be cancelled in early 2019 after the Psyfari music festival was called off amid the publicity surrounding festival drug use and deaths.
In announcing the cancellation earlier this month Mountain Sounds organisers blamed “excessive costs, additional licensing conditions and the enforcement of a stricter timeline”.
“We, like many of you, have seen the festival climate continue to diminish in Australia. NSW in particular is in dire straits,” they said.
“This is yet another example of the government’s war on festivals.”
On January 20, new NSW festival licensing laws were announced declaring that from March, organisers have to apply for a specific liquor license (similar to those in pubs and clubs) for each music festival they host.
Each application will need to be approved by a panel of experts, including stakeholders from NSW Police, Liquor and Gaming NSW, NSW Ambulance, and NSW Health before a licence can be issued.
Last week thousands of people headed down to the Don’t Kill Live Music rally in Sydney to protest the new licensing regulations.