Rob Da Bank’s Common People festival cancelled, owing more than £250,000

Another one bites the dust.

Common People festival has been cancelled for 2019, reportedly owing debts of over a quarter of a million pounds.

The two-day event held on the city’s South Park in Oxford and on Southampton Common has welcomed the likes of Primal Scream, Craig David, Duran Duran and many more over the last three years as well as showcasing local talent, but now the event has been pulled.

Arranged by Rob Da Bank’s Bestival team, the festival has gone into liquidation and is said to owe debts of more than £267,000 – according to a statement from Companies House.

This comes after administrators were appointed to Bestival Group, Bestival Ltd, and Camp Bestival, after loans tycoon James Benamor filed the administration notices at the High Court in 2018. According to filings at Companies House, Richmond Group Debt Capital – privately owned by Benamor – extended a loan of up to £1.6m to the festival back in February of 2017.

After Richmond Group took control of the brand, Rob and Josie Bank said that they were back in control of Camp Bestival after reaching an agreement with LiveNation and promoter SJM Concerts.

While the future of the main Bestival is yet to be determined, the Southampton and Oxford legs of Common People festival have been cancelled.

Primal Scream At Common People Festival 2016. Credit: Roger Askew/REX/Shutterstock

While Common People is said to owe money to contractors, suppliers and possibly artists too, Oxford Council are also owed £5,000.

“Everyone at Oxford City Council is absolutely gutted that Common People Oxford will not be returning,” the council’s Mary Clarkson told the Oxford Times. “We spent many years building the relationships that enabled us to bring the organisers of Bestival to Oxford and we have been proud to host them in South Park over the last three years.”

“Not only did Common People bring world-famous acts to Oxford, they made a real effort to make the festival feel part of the Oxford community by providing low-cost tickets for Oxford residents, working with local artists, DJs and bands, and collaborating with local cultural organisations.

“The city council is committed to bringing another annual festival that celebrates Oxford’s culture and diverse communities to South Park as soon as possible, and we’re in discussions with other festival organisers about this.”

Common People are yet to comment on the news.

“With the help of Live Nation Gaiety and SJM we will really be able to bring more of our creative vision to life with the support structure needed going forward”, a statement from Camp Bestival read last year. “Our aim has been and will always be to create the best ever family festival. We look forward to sharing this new chapter with you. More news very shortly.”

Rob Da Bank also tweeted to confirm that Camp Bestival was “1000% happening” in 2019 and it is “in much better shape”.