Where's the Money, Jabberwocky? ATP Cancels Festival, Leaves Fans in the Lurch

James Blake, Bonnaroo 2014
Josh Brasted/WireImage

James Blake performs during the 2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 14, 2014 in Manchester, Tennessee.

It's been a couple days since All Tomorrow's Parties dropped the bombshell news that they were calling off this weekend's Jabberwocky festival in London. Citing good-but-not-good-enough ticket sales, ATP announced that had they carried on with the event, headlined by James Blake and Neutral Milk Hotel and set to begin Friday, "it would have 100% been the end of ATP."

The backlash to such a last-minute cancellation -- a costly change in plans for folks who bought plane tickets and hotel rooms -- was immediately felt on ATP's Facebook page. "I was going to write a really shitty post but it got cancelled at the last minute," snarked one.

To make matters worse, however, fans now find themselves stuck in the middle of a tennis match between ATP and a third-party ticketing firm that it claims is liable for paying out refunds. In its original statement, ATP directed people to the "point of purchase" for refunds. For many bummed UK-based customers that would be Dash Tickets. But Dash quickly denied they were responsible, explaining in their own statements on Tuesday and Wednesday that they had already handed over all Jabberwocky funds to ATP. Further, Dash said that all they did was provide the software to ATP so they could sell their own tickets.

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Dash pointed to the terms and conditions, which "went to lengths to alert everyone that ATP holds the funds on all sales and that refunds can only be actioned through ATP." The company is considering legal action against the promoter. "Our trust in ATP seems to have been misplaced," they said.

Undeterred, ATP returned on Wednesday and doubled-down on its assertion that Dash had fans' money. "For the vast majority of people, Dash Tickets will be their point of purchase," said the promoter in a statement. "It is their responsibility to refund the customer, as they were the company that took payments; not ATP."

ATP goes on to suggest that if fans run into issues with Dash to go ahead and call their bank or credit card company to request a chargeback.

So Dash said ATP has the money while ATP claimed the opposite. "The whole thing seems like a stitch-up between ATP and Dash," said another Facebook commenter. "They blame each other and refund nobody. Strange that all other agents have refunded." Others just want someone to "be f--king decent and refund our money."

Jabberwocky was positioned as a new festival presented by Pitchfork and Primavera, and boasted a lineup that included Blake, Kurt Vile, Panda Bear, Deafheaven, Cloud Nothings, Pissed Jeans, Perfect Pussy and Caribou. It was set for Aug. 15 and 16 at the Excel Centre in London.

In a statement on Wednesday, Pitchfork downplayed its involvement with the doomed festival. Pitchfork explained that they only helped to curate Jabberwocky and that they had no financial stake in the event.

Jabberwocky had been rumored to be in financial trouble for some time. "We are already looking into acts for next year's Jabberwocky," the festival tweeted in response to a fan's concern on July 15. "No chance this one is getting cancelled!"

In 2012, ATP Concerts went into liquidation and a new firm, Willwal Ltd, was swiftly formed to run its events.

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