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Layoffs at Huka Entertainment following Pemby Fest collapse: report

Crisis spreads as fallout from bankruptcy shapes up

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The original parent company that started the now-bankrupt Pemberton Music Festival Limited Partnership (PMFLP) has entered a new crisis, with Huka Entertainment laying off staff.

Officials at the New Orleans-based company confirmed to Billboard that they brought in “layoffs to scale down appropriately.”

Huka CEO Evan Harrison said the company still ran a “concert-tour team as well as a scaled-down fest team,” but would not state the number of employees remaining.

Harrison referred to Huka as a “vendor of Pemberton who was caught off-guard by this,” with losses as an unsecured creditor totalling $99,762.96, according to a Statement of Affairs document listing secured and unsecured creditors, issued by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada (OSBC).

As well, Billboard reported that the bankrupt festival’s trustee, Ernst & Young, has released a credit card contact sheet, telling fans to pursue their credit card companies to charge back their ticket purchases.

Pique lists the names and numbers of the contact sheet below.

According to Billboard, this puts PMFLP’s ticketing agent Ticketfly in a difficult situation because they sold $6 million worth of tickets in two weeks and advanced that money to Twisted Tree Circus, a company controlled by Harrison and Huka’s chief experience officer A.J. Niland, as well as to 1115666 BC Ltd., owned by former PMFLP directors Amanda Girling and James Dales.

While the magazine noted that Twisted Tree was removed as part of the group that controls Pemberton Music Festival on April 19, Billboard did not note that most tickets that were sold before the collapse did not go on sale to the general public until May 2, weeks after Twisted Tree exited from the festival. Early-bird tickets had sold out after going on sale on Feb. 23.

Attorney for Dales and Girling, William Skelly, told Billboard that Girling was also a secured creditor as the president of another firm, Janspec, the festival site landowner.

Secured creditors are paid first in bankruptcy proceedings.

In the Statement of Affairs document provided by OSBC, Janspec was listed as secured creditor and claiming for $2,070,000 for “deposits to artists,” “real property or immovable,” “supplier deposits,” “business assets — trade fixtures,” and “cash on hand.”

The only other secured creditor was 1644609 Alberta Ltd., with a claim for $1,504,200.

Janspec was also an unsecured creditor, seeking $227,228.25 for unlisted losses.

The Statement of Affairs, which is a public document, states $13,170,523 is owed in over 120 claims made by unsecured creditors. These creditors include companies in Pemberton, Whistler, Vancouver, elsewhere in Canada and the U.S.

The first meeting of creditors is due to take place at 10 a.m. on June 6 in Vancouver.

Credit Card Contact Information

Ticketholders may contact their bank or credit card issuer directly at the contact numbers provided below in determining whether a refund can be obtained:

Royal Bank of Canada — 1-800-769-2512 (in North America)

CIBC — 1-800-465-2422 (in North America)

TD Canada Trust — 1-800-983-8472 (in North America)

American Express — 1-800-869-3016 (in Canada)

Scotiabank — 1-800-387-6466 (in North America)

BMO — 1-800-263-2263 (in North America)

MBNA — 1-888-876-6262 (General Inquiries)

CapitalOne — 1-800-481-3239 (in North America)

Tangerine — 1-888-826-4374 (in Canada)

For more on the bankruptcy of the Pemberton Music Festival, follow Pique Newsmagazine online at www.piquenewsmagazine.com, or pick up a copy of the paper next Thursday.

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