Festival leaves sour note for suppliers

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Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times
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Suppliers are still chasing money claimed from Southbound organisers after news broke late last week the 2017 festival would not be going ahead.

Organisers announced on Friday via social media the festival would not be held in December but said they were drumming up support for potential future events.

“After 13 years of Southbound, it is with much consideration that we have decided to take a break for 2017 to focus on some exciting new projects,” the post said.

“This time will allow us to return with a reinvigorated festival, with hopefully many more memorable years to come.”

Earlier this year the Times reported financial woes stemming from the decision to cancel the event at the start of 2016 and poor ticket sales from the follow-up festival had been brought to the fore as organisers sought to settle debts with suppliers.

Concert & Corporate Productions managing director Camille Symmons, who supplied lighting for stages, told the Times her business was still owed about $74,000.

Ms Symmons said CCP had been involved with Southbound since its inception, but said it had struggled to pay suppliers in recent years.

In the last two years Ms Symmons said her business had only received between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of its costs back.

After meeting with several suppliers throughout this year, parent company Sunset Events offered contracts for businesses to make back some of the money owed.

Ms Symmons said several suppliers suggested going into payment plans again which were refused, and were then told the event would be cancelled.

Jim Fidler, whose company provided security for the event over the past few years, said he was also owed a significant amount.

“We are a manpower company so we are required to pay our staff, but we have gone through hardship to pay our staff,” he said.

“Some people from other businesses have lost their jobs and even their homes because of this.”

Ms Symmons said if another event similar to Southbound was organised — a prospect hinted at in Friday’s social media post — money should be repaid to suppliers.

“If Sunset Events want to hold another Southbound or similar event and want the support of the industry they should pay us all back,” she said.

Southbound Festival director David Chitty was approached for comment but said no other statements would be made at this time.

In May, Mr Chitty said Southbound had been working closely with creditors to reach the best possible outcome and said a settlement had been reached with most suppliers.

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