Paradise Stolen 118

I think it is very important that I provide irrefutable proof of the systematic lies behind the boycott campaign with which BECTU, supported by the MSM, destroyed Doune the Rabbit Hole.

The most devastating of these lies was the repeated, and entirely false, claim that the Festival was not just unable to meet its bills in 2022 due to carried debt from two late Covid cancellations in 2020 and 2021, but had not paid artists and suppliers over many festivals.

This is from BECTU’s statement of 23 May, which called for a customer, supplier and artist boycott:

When the organisers contacted our branch in December 2022 they claimed that no one was owed any money from any of the festivals previous to 2022. We already knew that this was not true. When it was pointed out to them that at least one company was owed thousands of pounds from Festival and Beverage (the company now back running this year’s festival) the response was “oh yes – except for them there is no-one else”…. We have also found other companies that are owed from multiple previous festivals.

The total costs of the 2019 festival were approximately £812,000. Of these £806,000 were paid. One single company was indeed owed £6,000 (the last instalment on a £21,000 bill) due to a simple error, compounded by subsequent covid dislocation.

2020 and 2021 were the covid cancellations. We have no idea who are the companies BECTU claim to have found who are owed money from 2019 or earlier. We have had nobody – no artist, no crew, no supplier – contact us with an outstanding invoice from 2019 or before.

Crucially, I have spoken to the liquidator of DTRH Ltd. In seven months of operation, not one person or company has come to the liquidator with any claim arising from the 2019 festival or before.

Yet BECTU say plainly: “We have also found other companies that are owed from multiple previous festivals”.

Who are they? So who are these companies? We don’t know.

We have repeatedly asked BECTU, from December 2022 onwards. I asked them in person at a face to face meeting at their Scottish branch office in March 2023.

BECTU have never given us the name of a single one of the companies they have repeatedly claimed we owe money from 2019 and earlier, even though we have repeatedly asked.

In June, when it became clear this claim was destroying ticket sales, we asked BECTU repeatedly in writing.

BECTU finally told us that they could not tell us who was owed money from before 2019, because that information is confidential. Yes, really, confidential from the people trying to make any payment due.

So to sum up. The Festival was crashed by BECTU chiefly on a claim that people were owed money from the 2019 festival and earlier, but none of the nameless companies they claim are owed that money has ever contacted us or contacted the liquidator.

Furthermore BECTU said they know who these companies are, but refuse to tell us – nor did they assist any such company to contact us.

Plainly BECTU had no interest whatsoever in securing payment for any such companies, but rather were using them as leverage to crash the festival – which means they would never be paid.

The only other explanation, which seems to be the most likely, is that these companies do not exist, that BECTU had no contact with any companies owed money from previous festivals as nobody is owed money.

The whole story is a malicious falsehood concocted to destroy the festival.

Can you make any other sense of why no requests for payment were ever made for this alleged pre 2022 debt?

Other BECTU falsehoods in their statement calling for the festival to be boycotted, concerned broadly health and safety issues.

This one was another major BECTU lie:

There was only one water outlet for much of the build due to the supply being tapped from a Scottish Water outlet without the company’s knowledge or permission.

This is completely, utterly untrue.

This is a picture of the water supply plant for the festival. It was bought by the Cardross Estate with the festival paying for installation and connection. It was installed on the advice of Scottish Water and it was tested and approved by Scottish Water.

Scottish Water tested the quality several times, with the last check just before the 2022 festival. In fact this caused a major problem, as owing to a delay in Scottish Water’s bio-culture laboratory, clearance did not come through as expected, and gate opening was held back by three hours.

There are no Scottish Water outlets on the estate: Scottish Water’s mains piping ends at the gate. We have never tapped in to any Scottish Water outlet.

BECTU at no stage ever asked us about the water supply. They published this utter nonsense without any attempt to discuss with us first. Again, that is absolute proof the intention was to destroy the festival, not to solve another non-existent problem.

Their entire statement is similarly inaccurate. It makes wild claims, including that food was “inedible”. I presume this refers to crew catering.

Catering was inedible and people refused to eat it.

Well, I was on site for four weeks and I ate exactly the same food as everybody else, and I am still here. Approximately 8,000 crew meals were produced from a field kitchen over this period.

Other claims include that somebody saw heavy plant being driven in a public area. But apparently said nothing at the time, and the complaint is first brought up 10 months later.

The festival happened in July 2022. BECTU first published this claim in May 2023, again without asking us first.

One of the SLEN committee was on site with a headline band (who have still not been paid) and saw a number of H&S concerns including heavy plant moving across public areas with no escort while the festival was open.

All heavy plant was driven by expert professionals who were paid £350 per day by the festival. None would have risked their career doing anything unsafe. Plant movements were accompanied by banksmen.

The only plant movement in public areas we are aware of during the festival was to set down stands of bottled water, which had been supplied free by Scottish Water due to the heatwave. This was done safely using banksmen and cordons established by volunteers.

Here is another wild claim from BECTU in their statement, this time on ticket sales by March:

We believe that those 2000 sales will have brought in at least £400,000.

The most expensive ticket sold had been £180 for an adult weekend ticket. A full third of sales were children’s weekend tickets at £10. There were also adult day tickets at £60 or £80. Do the sums yourself on 2,000 tickets.

The claim of £400,000 was not just a lie, it was a very malicious lie which two minutes’ due diligence would have negated.

BECTU’s claim of revenue was fantastically wrong. It was designed to play in to their constant sub-narrative that large sums of money were available but being misappropriated.

I could go on for some time. BECTU, on the basis of this onslaught of malicious fabrication, called for a total boycott of the festival and were enthusiastically echoed in both mainstream and social media, by the entire Establishment.

The festival in 2022 made a large loss because its attempt to make up massive covid cancellation debts from 2020 and 2021 failed. This meant some artists, crew and suppliers are owed money from 2022, even though approximately £1.3 million WAS paid out.

We are deeply sorry for the debt.

We were determined to pay off the debt. We wished to make the festival a success again and work like crazy over these next three years to get all those owed, paid up in full.

Payment had sometimes been late in the past, but before Covid everybody who ever worked at the festival had been paid, (bar a single mistake). If the festival had not been destroyed by the most cynical and vicious campaign of lies, I believe there was a real prospect everybody would get paid off over time.

Now nobody will be paid and this year’s ticket holders have lost out. Congratulations to BECTU on this achievement. When they called for a boycott by artists, suppliers and public, there is no doubt this was the intended consequence.


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118 thoughts on “Paradise Stolen

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  • Giyane

    Recently I noticed that
    The AA Automobile Association , had made an unauthorised withdrawal of £154 from my account. They deny all knowledge of it, although my bank has confirmed it was taken by The AA.

    The AA was at one point bought by George Soros and nominally sold on to somebody else.
    It’s difficult to imagine political punishment being meted out by a British corporation.
    But that’s where we are at. The Law is there to protect vested interests. The police are there to facilitate the drug dealing and gun smuggling of the very rich. The United Nations is there to facilitate state colonialism. The ombudsman is there to enforce injustice.

    This is neo- Liberalism. Why does the light that
    shone so brightly suddenly shine so dim.
    Bright eyes.

  • Yuri K

    Don’t know what’s on your mind, Craig, but maybe it’s time to write a post about Paris? Suggested title: “Paradise Lost”.

    • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

      Yuri K,

      Coincidentally, for the last few days I was thinking much the same:-

      1. Why has Craig been silent for this long; and

      2. Wouldn’t the situation in France not be an apt topic.

      As regards choice of tile – ‘France fries’ – ‘Hot days in Paris’ – ‘ Trouble in Paris and that’s no Lyon’ – who knows.

      • Yuri K

        Craig is normally quite prompt to post once he analyzed the situation and made his conclusions. So, my guess is, Craig is still not ready to say something. Assuming Craig is OK and/or isn’t distracted by some stuff, of course.

        Frankly, I am absolutely clueless myself, whom to blame and what shall be done, as the traditional Russian thinking goes.

        • Pigeon English

          It is a difficult topic.
          IMHO it is a chicken and egg. Does racism come first or the other way around? Many people are using the events to promote their own beliefs (adding fuel to fire)! Even some Brexit supporters are taking advantage of events.

  • Paul Kenny

    I really don’t understand why people on this forum seem to think Craig is in no way to blame for any of this. That it’s some sort of bizarre conspiracy or something. The bottom line is that £800,000 was still owed to performers and staff from the 2022 festival when he decided to plough ahead with this year’s event. That’s real money owed to real people, and it will have caused significant hardship for some of them. Despite that money still being owed, he gambled (literally) on selling sufficient tickets for this year’s event in the hope of clearing the debts. What, precisely, was the plan if insufficient tickets were sold and further debts accrued? Now that the festival has been cancelled, can he please fully explain his plan for clearing the £800,000 debt from 2022? I hope he doesn’t intend to write off the debt, given that people were just getting back on their feet post-Covid at the time. And can he kindly update us as to the progress of payments for people who provided labour or services prior to the cancellation of this year’s event?

    • pretzelattack

      i really don’t understand why you would expect anybody to believe this when you don’t provide any evidence of that.

    • glenn_nl

      1/ Did you actually read the article, which addresses every point you raised?

      2/ What parts of the above didn’t you understand?

      Every business venture is a gamble, you know. A good one too in this case, until some malicious campaign comes along and makes it unworkable – and then blames the success of that campaign on the person trying to make the business work.

      Help me out here… why do dishonest stooges pretend, so often, that they’re just objective bystanders? I only ask because you have such obvious relevant and recent experience.

      • Paul Kenny

        You say that “every business venture is a gamble” but the 2023 event was a gamble risking other people’s livelihoods. The interest rate is at 5%, food inflation is over 18%, all-goods inflation at 9.7%. People are skint, so why expect a magical rush of ticket sales to help clear a debt from a previous year? It’s reckless.

        • Bayard

          You are suffering from the “sunk cost fallacy”. It doesn’t matter why there is outstanding debt, the point is that there is debt. Doing the same thing again is a no worse strategy to pay off that debt than doing something different, as you advocate. In fact it is better, as there is existing expertise and goodwill in putting on a festival that has been running for some years. Any business venture is a gamble and any business venture that involves other businesses, like a building contract, is a “gamble risking other people’s livelihoods”. Are you suggesting that the construction industry gives up competitive tendering for this reason?
          In any case, you are missing the point of the post. It is not that there weren’t debts, it was that the festival was brought down by a campaign based on lies. The risk of putting on a festival, the “risking other people’s livelihoods”, as you like to put it so tendentiously, as if all the businesses involved didn’t know exactly what they were letting themselves in for, is nothing to do with it. Any business can be brought down by a campaign of lies aimed at its customers, there is nothing special about music festivals.

    • Tom Welsh

      Paul, the real “bottom line” is that the UK government and all of the complex network of officialdom that emanates from it decided, quite arbitrarily and quite wrongly, to suspend civil rights and confine citizens to their homes for indefinite periods.

      That was an act that could well have been deliberately intended to destroy the economy. I said in 2020 that the Johnson government was doing more harm to the British economy (and hence the British people) than Napoleon or Hitler had ever managed. (Although admittedly far less harm than the eager acceptance of American credit). True, there were no bombed-out buildings or sunk battleships. But what happened – and the immense tsunami of consequences is still building up before our eyes – caused the UK more long-term damage.

      Admittedly it is hard to distinguish the harm done by the government’s ridiculous “Covid” policies from that done by its ridiculous “climate change”, “gender change”, and “the Russians are Coming” policies. It seems that, having once committed to driving the nation over a cliff, those people have decided to double down again and again.

      The last word was definitely said by Karl Rove nearly 20 years ago:

      “The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'”
      – Ronald Suskind (American journalist) reporting the comments of a White House aide (later identified as Karl Rove) [“Without A Doubt” by Ron Suskind, The New York Times Magazine, 17 October 2004].

      Ever since, we in the reality-based community (otherwise known as “the sane”) have been aghast at the hideous consequences of our leaders’ mad delusions.

      It would be a wonderful relief if there could be devised some system of government that would rule in our interests – all of us. But that’s a hopeless dream.

    • Johnny Conspiranoid

      “I really don’t understand why people on this forum seem to think Craig is in no way to blame for any of this. That it’s some sort of bizarre conspiracy or something. ”
      Perhaps because it’s a bizarre conspiracy or something.

    • bobobunny

      BECTU fucked anyone chances of getting paid. With DRTH still running there was the possibility that they would. People who were not paid in past years, were squared up, which suggests to me that DRTH were sticking to their word and doing the right thing.

      Pretty sure most festivals are running at a loss currently, post covid.

      What is it you don’t understand – is it Limited Company law you are struggling with?

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      Re: ‘The bottom line is that £800,000 was still owed to performers and staff from the 2022 festival’

      As I understand it, Paul, performers, crew & festival service companies are only owed around £200k from the 2022 festival. The balance, mainly arising from the cancelled 2020 & 2021 festivals, is owed to creditors, who I’d imagine are mostly friends & family (including our host, who I believe is owed around £300k himself) as I can’t see that any commercial lenders would have lent the festival anything due to excessive risk.

      The fact is that when you lend money, or offer services without payment up-front*, you are taking a risk – and that applies especially when the recipients are limited companies whose tangible assets aren’t substantially greater than their net debt. If you don’t like that situation, then why not campaign to scrap limited liability or to introduce debt servitude as in ancient Greece? It might be worth mentioning too that the sole director of Doune the Rabbit Hole Ltd, which organised the 2022 festival, was Jamie Murray, who may be the adult son of our host, but is not actually our host, so the latter cannot in any way be said to blame for what happened.

      * It might be a raw deal for up-and-coming artists etc – but on the plus side, Putin hasn’t nuked them (so far). So there is that.

  • Louise

    Hope you’ve avoided having your bank accounts closed by ‘Judge, Jury, executioners’, of smug Stalinists and their shadow rule.
    God Bless Craig!

  • Robert Dyson

    A week has passed since you posted this, I was too appalled to comment. Lying to attack another person has always been intolerable for me. Some people are despicable, I hope they get their comeuppance.

  • bobobunny

    I was at the Kelburn Garden Party at the Weekend. The guy that did the stretchy tent up at the monument told me that DRTH owed him 18 grand from last year, and that despite repeated requests, he was ignored and never paid.

    I’m sure you could get in touch with David Boyle (Viscount Kelburn) at Kelburn Caste and get the stretchy tents guy’s company details to clarify and clear the air.

    Not that he’s going to get his money now, thanks to BECTU.

  • bobobunny

    Leo did the crew catering at DTRH last year. He also did the crew catering at Kelburn last year, and also last weekend. The food was all good, at all 3 events, and there was plenty of it. The only thing that happened at DRTH is there was problems with supply as it was not possible to get deliveries done, Leo’s crew drivers did not turn up for shift, so other volunteers drove the van into the Stirling to the cash and carry. There was no shortage of food

    Leo is a highly proficient chef, who has a lot of experience of feeding multiple people, in various fields using a field kitchen.

    No one went hungry, the food was tasty, nutricious and in no way inedible, and nobody starved.

    Whoever is saying otherwise is talking shite. I was there.

    With regards to water, there was a dedicated water supply on crew camping when I arrived the week before, and there was toilets and showers. Water went into the main site on Thursday, but there were was water available for volunteers, build crew, decor and everyone else.

    Nobody died of thirst. More shite from the unnamed source.

  • bobobunny

    When they say heavy plant, I presume they mean telehandlers?

    They were paid 200 quid a day – not 350.

    Someone is on the pockle.

    Generally there were stewards around keeping the public off the road, and when the festival opened they were generally being driven in low gear, on the back road near the main stage, away from the public. They were not on the main festival site.

    More shite from BECTU.

    it would be interesting to find out who are the directors of this so called stalwart of performing artists’ rights, what their background is and who are the puppeteers driving the witch hunt.

    Also Mr Murray is a marked man in the eyes of the establishment – if they can’t shut him up, they are happy to bankrupt him out of spite. Stirling Council did everything possible to thwart granting the licence last year. Them moaning about staff using the wrong chopping boards for lemons behind the bar made it obvious they were looking for any excuse to stop the festival, no matter how trivial.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      Thanks for posting that link Glenn. If anyone wants to read Matt Quinn’s comment which mysteriously disappeared from page 1 of this post, he’s kindly reproduced it on the comments section of the above-linked blogpost, along with a couple other prolix comments detailing inter alia his rags-to-riches life story, replete with young women with skirts up to their backsides and ‘Erthas (sic) out for the boys’.

      Anyway, Matt, if you happen to read this, I can tell you that there’s no evidence that the Doune the Rabbit Hole Community Interest Company went bust in 2017/18, or was ever put into liquidation at all:

      What probably happened is explained on page 5 of the 2018 accounts. The ‘black hole’ was caused by the company making a loss in 2017 due to poor weather affecting ticket sales, but it was rescued by a substantial loan from a third party that didn’t require fixed repayment terms (not sure if that was our host). In 2019, the loan will likely have either been paid off out of profits from that year’s festival or written off, along with any other outstanding loans. There’s no evidence that creditors were deliberately stiffed so that our host could get his hands on the ‘valuable IP’ (which didn’t exist, unless the accountants recorded it as a fixed asset – which they shouldn’t as it’s an intangible – but if they did, since they also wrongly recorded the no-fixed-repayment-schedule loan as being due within one year, it would have only amounted to less than £26k, not over £481k).

  • Lovely

    You’ve upset a lot of either corrupt, evil or just plain stupid and useless people over the years with your incisive and very useful truth telling. They will keep coming for you due to that fact.

    Please do not lose heart and simply do your best to put this affair behind you and move forwards positively as best you can. It’s exactly what your enemies and the enemies of the truth would not want.

  • Auld Nickum

    I’ve just seen the menu for DTRH23 and what a smorgasbord of the delights on offer it could have been. Seems that the musicians on the lineup held no qualms about playing at one of Scotland’s greatest independent festivals, but others thought differently.
    I’m lucky, with 30 years of working festivals with my pop-up stonecarving workshop, I have a perspective of how these gatherings have developed and how they are continually dogged with financial uncertainty, unrealistic ‘onesize fits all’ planning authority demands, bad drugs, policing issues, panDEMics and of course the vagaries of the weather! It’s a Herculean struggle which, for most, has been overcome by dogged determination, patience and the feeling that what has been achieved is far too precious to lose.
    I was in the Family Field last year when I heard Event Scotland declare it was the best field they’d ever seen and a yardstick to judge all others by: high praise indeed for all the folk who work their tickets to put it all together. But high praise too for the whole diverse community that makes it all happen; thankyou, Alan for the complimentary passes for a family who’d just escaped the war, they loved Boney M! And Craig for doing your usual utmost to pull it off. I’m not at all concerned about unpaid exxies!
    That one other enormous shite factor is, of course, politics. People in high places are mightily pissed off with the truth being known and have discharged an avalanche of sharn from on high. DTRH is co-lateral damage; financial ruin and the blackening of reputation is the target. The sheer venality of the attacks are a sign of how worried they are about the continuing danger to the public posed by Craig’s writings, or running a highly popular festival. Seems like a backhanded compliment to me, complete with the pain. Culturally cancelled? I don’t think so!

  • David von Geyer

    I sent this email to BECTU’s media contact:

    Hey there Josie

    I appreciate that you have not organised the boycott that has resulted in the cancellation of this festival, but perhaps you could pass this message on to those who are responsible.

    Personal integrity is a rare commodity and following last year’s loss making festival the management committed to paying off all debts. Instead of supporting this, you’ve scuppered any chance of last year’s bands getting paid.

    I question your integrity and professionalism. I would be interested in hearing how you think your boycott has helped anyone. Your unpaid union members remain unpaid, the festival has effectively ceased to exist. Thousands of people, myself included, may waive a refund on the off-chance that there might be another festival one day or receive a refund.

    You may have detected that I am unimpressed by the result of your boycott. If you think you can justify it, please explain.

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