On bectu and Doune the Rabbit Hole

“At this point we are now advising members, non members and artists to avoid this festival. We would call on any acts who have agreed to play to seriously consider whether they want to play at a festival which owes so much money.”
– Bectu, Scottish Live Events Network

Last year we covered the growing concerns about large numbers of artists, workers and businesses who were left unpaid by Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival 2022, and the large amounts of public grants that had been channeled to the business, and the strong likelihood that the business model of paying off old debts by creating a new festival was going to fail.

At the time the festival organisers told the Herald: “Since July 2022 Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival Ltd continued to trade because there was good reason to believe that we could expect an imminent windfall from a large bank loan and/or major donation from a private source. As part of the conditions attached to the planning and promotion of future events it has been agreed that future proceeds from Doune 2023 and beyond will be paid in full to the liquidators who in turn will pay these as dividends to creditors.”

Now it turns out that none of this was true.

The Scottish Live Events Network has issued a new statement urging people not to work for, or going to Doune the Rabbit Hole:

“We have further information which we think is important to share with our members and the wider public. If you haven’t read our previous statements please Read them here to get some background. For those without time to read the whole post, key information is BECTU and SLEN are actively now advising against working for, going to, or supporting DTRH for a multitude of reasons listed in detail below, please feel free to share this post to colleges friends and others.”

They continue: “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”. They also promised to contact that company and sort out payment terms. The company received two emails with all the usual excuses of why they could not pay. Then no response. A further email eventually was responded to with more excuses. That company is now going to seek redress through legal means. We have also found other companies that are owed from multiple previous festivals. It is disappointing that  the organisers were willing to mislead us in our very first conversation. Sadly this attitude of continual non payment followed by excuses and empty promises seems to be the business model they follow.”

SLEN also have concerns about the use and misuse of volunteers at the event. When contacting the organisers about the issues surrounding volunteers they were faced with what they call a “a vitriolic rant”. To be clear SLEN has concerns about the roles volunteers are being asked to do including asking for people to build fences, construct marquees, work in catering, and build roads.

SLEN has commented saying: “Also during the festival to work behind bars, stewarding, park cars and to fulfil technical backstage roles. All of these jobs require specific training, insurance and PPE amongst other requirements and break many of the other volunteer charter statements concerning using volunteers to undercut pay and conditions of service, to reduce contract costs or to bypass minimum wage legislation. Using volunteers in safety critical roles is something that the organisers told officials at the March meeting that they would not do this year. Clearly they have changed their minds.”

As the Union says, no-one wants to prevent a festival going ahead but the mounting debts, mismanagement and safety issues, as well as the exploitation of volunteers has culminated in this crisis.

Former DTRH performer Iona Fyfe has commented saying: “I’m concerned to hear that there are still issues with payments and outstanding amounts owed to musicians, crew and other workers from previous years of the festival. Whilst there was pro-active communication between the festival and the Musicians Union surrounding the implementation of a payment plan, the new statement has contradicted and undermined these efforts. The festival had also asked volunteers to place deposits of £100 to secure their position to volunteer. This just feels extremely exploitative and tone deaf. It truly is a shame because I’ve previously performed at the festival twice and apart from a small delay in being paid and the fee’s being very variable and odd, I haven’t had much issue. But when other musicians have not been paid, we must work together collectively to call out this sort of behaviour and mismanagement. Especially when the new company has been in receipt of public funds.”

The crisis speaks to a wider crisis in arts media in Scotland.

Read the full statement HERE.


Comments (32)

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  1. Da Funktipus says:

    Undercutting contracts/jobs by asking people to volunteer for certain roles is not something to hold solely against Doune the Rabbit Hole.

    If the Scottish small festival circuit didn’t extensively use this kind of practice, then I doubt there would be one at all.

    I worked/volunteered in the circuit for a few years. If SLEN seriously have such an issue with Doune’s volunteer practices then they might take a moment to look at just about any other independent festival in Scotland and re-consider what they’re implying here.

    1. Jake Solo says:

      It’s a hit job on a Craig Murray. Don’t overthink it. They didn’t.

      1. Yeah Bectu and unpaid bands, famously political people.

        1. Derek Thomson says:

          Jake’s right though. I don’t agree with him on much, but he’s right on this. If Craig Murray wasn’t involved with DTRH, this article would not have appeared on this site.

          1. Not true at all. Take for example our coverage of the Underbelly scandal? It’s about the misuse of public funds and the wider question of arts media in Scotland.
            We have been contacted by dozens of acts who have not been paid.

      2. Ian says:

        Seems like Craig Murray is more than capable of doing hit jobs on himself over and over.

    2. I think they are doing that, according to their statement

  2. Da Funktipus says:

    You’re saying the article raises questions over public funds and the wider question of arts media in Scotland but you haven’t really elaborated on any of that, save for one-sentence mentions at the top and bottom of the article.

    This article says nothing at all about misuse of public funds.

    Not sure why you’re gesturing at this seemingly major point without being able to elaborate on it, but hey-ho. I also saw a tweet you wrote saying wider questions were opened up, but none of these questions were offered.

    Some of the largest recipients of culture grants and COVID recovery cash were businesses backed or owned by SNP politicians, iirc, but that’s beside the point.

    Are we blaming the festivals themselves for utilising every funding option available to them no matter if they “need” it or not in comparison to other events, or the funders for being mugged off so easily?

    1. Hi Da Funktipus – I wrote about this previously.

      The festival has been in receipt of considerable amounts of public money to allow it to continue. The limited company ‘Festival Beverages and Property Limited’ received (at minimum):

      1) Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund (2020) £45,198

      2) Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund Round 2 (2021) £45,198

      The company that has gone into liquidation (run by his son) has switched/ reverted to the previous company, run by Craig Murray, who are quoted in The Herald to say that Festival Beverage and Property Services, organisers for the 2023 festival, have “pledged” to make any outstanding payments, with tickets already on sale for next year’s edition”

      I’m not sure what SNP politicians received culture grants, nor what that has got to do with this?

      There are two major Qs here I think – one is pouring public money into an event that seems badly mismanaged and highly unlikely to recover its costs. The second is the problem we have across all fields of media where you have embedded journalists who get very close to the organisers (same is true in football or food writing) – so no-one is able to stand up and say this sounds dodgy.

      1. Da Funktipus says:

        Thanks for your response and elaboration on the subject, very much appreciated.

        1. Your welcome, I should have been clearer

          1. Derek Thomson says:

            I take it you’ve seen the article of June 21st on Craig Murray’s own blog Mike? I’d be interested to read your comments on it.

          2. Hi Derek – I’ve been on a brief break. The gist of it seems to be ‘its all someone else’s fault’ Is that about right?

      2. Adrian D. says:

        So your ‘at minimum’ figures of around £90K for Covid support for a festival with a capacity of 10,000 a year amounts to about a fiver per ticket for a payment that could be directly reimbursed from Westminster anyway? Too right there are questions to be asked – I’m not sure you’re asking the right ones.

        1. Why would Westminster reimburse a festival in Scotland?

          1. Adrian D says:

            The Treasury made a series of guarantees of minimum spending amounts throughout the pandemic to allow the Scottish Gov to make these payments as they saw fit – short details at the bottom of this link. This support could easily have been included as part of that. Again though – do you think £5 a ticket amounts to adequate CV19 support – especially when compared to the levels being paid to English festivals at the time (sums which the Scottish gov could have used to support a Barnett claim too?)


          2. The Scotsman today reports that the festival received six different grants from Creative Scotland – and funding totalling over £175,000 in public money.

            In a joint statement from the MU, Bectu and Equity they write:

            “Bectu, The MU and Equity are of the view that it is unfortunate that the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival due to take place in Stirlingshire on the weekend of 21 – 23 July 2023 is now cancelled.

            However over the last few years this festival has amassed well over £1 million pounds in unpaid bills to both bands and staff (£800,000 in 2022 alone). Many people, including the headline bands last year, were paid nothing other than their deposits. In some cases bands are owed tens of thousands of pounds with no hope of getting their final payments, and this year’s cancellation will impact yet more bands and staff.

            As trade unions we have tried to have a constructive dialogue with the organisers of the festival, but the undertakings which were offered to us were not forthcoming.

            The organisers said that they would share sales figures, in order to reassure us that they would make enough profit this year to begin to repay the debts owed by the previous festival. They stated their intention to repay those debts over 3 years. They have not provided any such information and that undertaking to repay those debts is now in jeopardy.”

            In a radio interview on Good Morning Scotland on June 8 Craig Murray, one of the festival’s organisers, stated that Doune the Rabbit Hole currently has ticket sales of £5,000 per week, but needs ticket sales of £25,000 per week to be on target.

            That he sought to blame trade unions, and by implication the very people who work so hard at the festival each year, was incredibly disappointing.

            We had agreed with the organisers that they would offer 100% deposits up front to those considering working at the festival, but again Craig disclosed that this has not happened. Once again those who had agreed to perform and work at this year’s festival will be left out of pocket by the failure of those organising the event.

          3. Adrian D says:

            “The Scotsman today reports that the festival received six different grants from Creative Scotland – and funding totalling over £175,000 in public money.” Indeed they did, but as the Scotsman says in that very article this funding was received “over the space of a decade”. I’ll let you do your own sums regarding what that might look like on a per-ticket basis. Perhaps the Murrays should have banked a load of it in case there was a pandemic – and even then he couldn’t have forseen lockdowns and closure of mostly open air events which weren’t on anyones expectation horizon for most of that decade.

  3. Regretful says:

    I’ve already bought tickets, it likely to get cancelled now and I’ll be unlikely to get a refund..

  4. Matt Quinn says:

    Craig Murray has published a SECOND piece on his blog, bleating about how hard done by he is… Now; as you might see from my initial response to his first article, I’m no fan of BECTU. But I did take the time on Sunday (had a bit of time on my hands) to go through the returns for all THREE of the companies that have been involved with Doune The Rabbit Hole.

    What I see is a pattern whereby the original CIC was flown into a £450K ‘black hole’ back in 2017 or thereabouts. – Murray then ‘bought out’ the (by this time quite valuable and otherwise asset-locked) IP from the failed CIC company which was then transferred into his own PRIVATE concern… The question then was did it (the CIC) fall or was it pushed?

    The 2022 festival appears to have been set up in such a way as to try and ‘ring fence’ the (valuable) IP away from the production side. There is some sort of ‘partnership’ agreement between Murray Snr’s (private) company and his son’s… Such that there is a ‘contingent liability’ established in respect of the debts of the ‘crashed’ company.

    Murray claims he wants to pay down this £800K debt using the profits from this year’s and future festivals… which, if you think about it amounts to a near interest-free loan provided by all the sole traders and microbusinesses that are owed money. Of Course, he hints that this is an altruistic proposal; in fact the notes on the latest-submitted accounts seem to suggest his company is liable.

    Regardless of my own personal ‘beef’ with and dislike for BECTU; it needs to be acknowledged that all they have done here is warn their membership and the wider creative community about a rogue operator who presents a real danger. – This clearly isn’t an ‘anti-Murray’ witch-hunt on behalf of the establishment; rather serious and legitimate concern.

    Below is a copy of a reply I posted to Murray’s blog (the ‘Paradise Stolen’ article) about 1/2 an hour ago. – It appeared briefly and has now been ‘disappeared’… ‘Go figure’, as they will insist on saying in the ‘States!

    “I’m actually not sure what you hope to prove or who you’re trying to convince here Craig… you have your little claque I know; but at best, you’re only fooling some of the people there. As far as many people looking objectively at this will be concerned; you invested your retirement money in a commercial opportunity – one created in questionable circumstances. You mismanaged it and now refuse to take responsibility for your own actions. As per my previous comment, I’m no ‘fan’ of BECTU, and at first accepted your account of events at face value without thinking. – I was wrong to do that… Unfortunately, your account of events is not supported by numerous accounts (including the published financial accounts of the THREE companies involved) nor does your claimed timeline sit correctly with events of the day…

    As for this ridiculous ‘White Knight’ story; more convincing is the popular tale of the Black Knight supposedly orbiting the earth for thousands of years having been put there by space aliens!

    The books for the Community Interest Company (CIC) that grew the brand (the IP) are online. It’s a matter of record how it was run into a fairly sudden £450K ‘black hole’ – back in 2017! …The (extended) accounts for the 18-month period from February 2017 to August 2018 reflect this – or are you blaming THAT on Covid? or Bectu too?

    An analysis of the previous returns of that CIC might raise an eyebrow… Some, looking at the pattern and considering that final ‘set the controls for the heart of the sun’ year might simply assume gross incompetence on the part of management. But – It would not (in my view) be unreasonable to form the opinion that this crisis might have been deliberately manufactured to provide justification for folding the CIC… which had been responsible for developing what was by then a relatively valuable IP; the object of the exercise being to take that IP out of the ‘public interest’.

    Festival Beverage and Property Services is registered as an entirely private commercial venture – it’s not any kind of social enterprise… it belongs to you Craig. And it’s logical to deduce that’s where you invested your money. …’all your retirement savings’. But ‘to pay debts’? That’s really stretching a point.

    Most accounts of events seem to confirm that your private business ran the festival in 2018 and 2019 so it must at least have licensed the rights (the IP); but of course it couldn’t have as the CIC was clearly in deep trouble by that stage – it must have bought them from it. Certainly, the books do reflect that by the 30th of April 2019 your private company had apparently ‘acquired’ IP valued at £481,551. And presumably this allowed the CIC to be shut down with relatively little outrage.

    …So yes; in a spin-doctorish stylee ‘technically’ you can argue that your retirement savings ‘paid debts’. But then if I bought next-door’s telly of them to allow them to pay the electricity bill; I’m not ‘paying their debt’ – I’m buying a telly! – And you apparently bought IP for the benefit of your own private business. As for moving the festival from Community Interest hands to private? Not a good look; but then hardly anyone seems to have noticed.

    Such a ‘technique’ not being unknown in ‘the business’ world – particularly the Creative Industries – some of us might view that as ‘sharp practice’ or other wise dubious; but it happens… A ‘rights grab’. It’s also worth noting that any disruption to supplier’s and performers cashflow as the CIC thrashed around in its death throws might well have caused serious harm and resentment among sole traders and microbusinesses (i.e. performers, technicians small suppliers etc.)

    As the penny drops, we may start to hear anecdote about this…
    It’s probably not unreasonable to suppose that BECTU, MU and SLEN reps and officials (as well as others) were aware of this. – People who actually are legitimately qualified, trained and experienced in Music and Events Management – i.e. legitimate professionals – are capable of detecting such patterns. ‘Stuff happens’… We know this. But at a guess I’d say that’s when your cards were marked and weather-eyes started to be kept.

    “In 2020 we were projecting a £300,000 profit…”

    Such projections do not (sensibly at least) get plucked out of thin air; but are the result of analysing at least a few (3-5 minimum) years of past-performance coupled to market intelligence. I’ve no reason to doubt the projection here… The IP (Intellectual Property) of the Doune The Rabbit Hole had indeed been developed over a period of several years under the community interest flag.

    – “We had sold two thirds of the tickets with three months to go”. – Which dates this projection to mid-late April 2020.

    “Then Covid happened.”

    …In reality Covid had become a notifiable disease in February and had been a worrying approaching storm since Christmas. Certainly, by mid-March, my company had ‘written off’ the 2020 filming season; re-booking many projects for 2021 (some of which never happened, some of which are only getting done now). – Bookings were falling like autumn leaves in a gale, and new project insurances were becoming either impossible or prohibitively expensive to obtain. – Everybody was in the same boat! We were by no means unique. – Why the hell in April 2020 you thought you’d be putting on an music festival in July is anyone’s guess!

    Of course – little were we to know what was going to happen would effectively shut us down for three years – with even this year (the first of full operation since the pandemic) a pretty lean one. Many businesses – my own included – got absolutely nothing by way of financial support; cracks in the system there were many. And yes; we all had ongoing overheads with six-figure losses being common and devastating many a retirement fund…

    Yet, The Scotsman reports that you got some £175K in support… for YOUR private business! Lucky old you Craig; it must be nice to have ‘connections’.

    “We decided to go ahead with the Festival again in 2023, using the parent company. Doune the Rabbit Hole Ltd was put into liquidation to seal off the debt, but with an agreement with the liquidator that any profits from 2023 and future festivals would go to the liquidator, until all creditors had been paid off in full.”

    In fact Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival – SC693771 was registered on the 31st of March 2021, filing its first set of unremarkable accounts for the 31st of December 2021 in September 2022; by which point of course the damage had been done – but not yet publicly accounted for. Now called FDTRHF Realisations Ltd, it’s the company now in liquidation… The Confirmation Statement filed on the 8th of March 2022 says that all 100 shares in it are held by Jamie Douglas Murray…

    “Parent Company”? – It doesn’t have one; not unless you mean ‘owned by his Dad!’

    This is simply a private business owned by your son Craig. – Just as you own Festival Beverage And Property Services Ltd (FBPS). – And to be frank, what this looks like from the outside (and will have appeared so from an early stage) is a repeat of the events that flew the original CIC into that £450K hole!

    According to your most recent accounts there was a partnership agreement between the two companies with FDTRHF being responsible for event planning and production. – For whatever reason (however it was drafted) this left your FBPS company with an £800K contingent liability when your son’s company was trashed; somebody even suggested to me earlier that this cunning plan (had it gone unchallenged) in effect amounted to £800K of interest-free finance! – I’m not-quite convinced by that one; but still. What’s certain is that the people left carrying the cost of financing that festival are the artists and suppliers.

    Now… here’s your problem. People are and will have looked at your and your son’s behaviour over a period of years; right back to where you started running up significant debts with the CIC.

    The CIC went from pootling along, showing the usual sort of growing pains such a thing might well do; to being ‘blown’ up in a £450K mess in one year. – You’re currently being very quiet abut that one; but was it incompetent or deliberate? – that’s the question.

    YOU then personally strip out the key asset (from something you’re implicated in the control and demise of) and develop it to your own advantage in ’18/’19. …Whatever your intentions or what you think you did; this looks dodgy. – And as I say; there would have been the impact on (harm done to) the CIC’s creditors to consider.

    For whatever reason, post-Covid you’ve then gone on to try and ‘ring fence’ the production side of the festival via your son’s company from the (valuable) IP; which you’ve retained for yourself (it’s on YOUR company’s books). What’s worse is that rather than trying to finance this in advance (through conventional loans, sponsorship etc; this is WHY such things are done that way) thus securing the position of artists and suppliers; you’ve leveraged a mass of credit by exploiting the goodwill of small companies and individuals.

    The cold hard fact is that you (and/or your son) ran the rabbit ‘Doune’ a deep dark hole of debt not once but twice now. – When you ‘rescued’ (as I’m sure you’d try to frame it) it the first time you did so entirely to your own advantage… you extracted what would otherwise have been asset-locked IP. And frankly; this latest ‘wheeze’ of yours to ‘pay down’ the £800K is pie in the sky.

    What really beggars belief is that ‘somehow’ you feel entitled to be bailed out by ‘White Knights’ and Crowdfunding … “

    1. Derek Thomson says:

      Well, I must say, I’m astonished that Craig has taken down your searing, insightful well-researched assassination of his character. YOUR article (SWIDT?) makes him out to be an ABSOLUTE CROOK (SWIDT again?) And in the name of all that used to be holy (some would call it simple pedantry, but I’m not one of them) “throes”, not bloody “throws”.

      1. Matt Quinn says:

        Well Derek… you have my response to your infantile criticism of my spelling over on Craig’s Blog. It is indeed, simple.

        What I have written (what was apparently censored) is not an ‘assassination of his character’ at all; I cite facts drawn from public records which rather counter the picture being painted by Craig Murray; that’s all.

        …The assets of a CIC are (by the nature of such a structure) ‘locked’. Buying out such a thing to transfer it to private interests is a difficult process, and in this case the value lay in the very essence of the DTRH festival; its brand.

        Examining the history of the festival along with it’s books (from the CIC) does reveal something quite valuable growing; and this seems to be corroborated by the ‘£300k profit’ projections made in 2020 that (sensibly) would have been based on 3-5 years data and market intelligence.

        But let’s bear in mind; part of that data would have included the failure of the CIC and the debt it ran up.

        It is fact… it is reflected in public record… that in the 2017 season the festival, was suddenly run into £451K of debt and (deliberately? one must ask) folded as a consequence. So the projections stood sound – despite this previous failure – which implies that the people making that projection well understood the background to that failure; and did not view it as a contraindication.

        It is fact that Festival Beverage and Property Services Ltd is a private company owned by Craig Murray. – It is not any kind of social enterprise, unlike the CIC from which the £481, 551 in intangible assets it owns, were apparently obtained. – For clarity on this point; there is little doubt that this private company ran the festival in 2018 and ’19 and could only have obtained the rights (the IP) to do so by extracting them from the wreckage of the CIC.

        Murray seems to be trying to frame this as him using his ‘retirement money’ to ‘pay off debt’. In fact what he seems to have done is invested it in his own private business, which bought a valuable asset off a failed CIC – which in turn used that money to clear the bulk of its debts. What the wider fallout from that fiasco was I don’t know; but I suspect from what they’ve written BECTU have some idea… their reference to ‘pre-2019’ debt is intriguing.

        Now… the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 will have extinguished claims that are five or more years old which – in any case would relate to a company which last made books up to August 2018 and would have owed monies relating to events a year previous! …If there are (as seems to be alleged) sums owing from that period they may be technically extinguished or irrecoverable.

        However you’re dealing with people here; and morally; those people will still feel they’re owed and be (quite rightly) aggrieved. Therefore the gathering reputation of DTRH as a ‘poor payer’ (as implied by BECTU over a period of time) cannot be said to be baseless.

        In response to this (on his blog under the ‘Paradise Stolen entry) Murray writes – “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.”

        But what locus would the Liquidator of FDTRHF REALISATIONS LIMITED, Company number SC693771 – previously known as ‘Doune The Rabbit Hole Festivals Ltd’; which is Murray’s son’s Private Limited Company, now in Liquidation – have in relation to DOUNE THE RABBIT HOLE C.I.C. Company number SC393275 – the original Community Interest Company (i.e. a social enterprise) which went bust in 2017/18 owing £451,998?

        Or for that matter what locus in relation to FESTIVAL BEVERAGE AND PROPERTY SERVICES LIMITED (FBPS) Company number SC594737 – Murray’s own private company which ran the festivals in ’18 and ’19 – other than to advise it of the contingent liability which seems to exist as the consequence of some partnership agreement between the two in relation to the 2022 festival.

        “Crucially” says he? – I think the lawyers would reach for the old phrase ‘lacking in specification, et seperatim irrelevant’ in response to this statement… the people he’s citing clearly have nothing to do with “any claim arising from the 2019 festival or before.” …What they’re liquidating is Jamie Murray’s ‘Doune The Rabbit Hole Festivals Ltd’ which wasn’t even incorporated (i.e. didn’t exist) until the 31st of March 2021.

        This brings me back to the astonishing speed with which that company ran up an alleged £800K of debt before (just like the CIC before it, and with the same hands on the controls) crashed and burned…

        It is also notable how the IP – the valuable bit of the festival – remained with Craig Murray’s private company; the debt being ‘ring fenced’ off from it. – With the proposal that FBPS carry on running the event; paying back what is effectively an interest-free ‘loan’ from the Creative Industries community; a ‘loan’ which they never agreed to and in most cases cannot afford to provide.

        In reality… had the business case been sound, the right thing to do would have been to seek commercial funding and/or investment to mitigate and consolidate what was otherwise run up as debt to suppliers. By that means the reputational damage would have been avoided. Even after the fact of the debt being run up and ‘DTRH Ltd’ folding – it would have been a sound move for FBPS to obtain that commercial funding.

        Of course… for commercial funding sources to oblige; there does need to be a sound business case, sound management and a worthy business plan in place. – And there’s your trouble. The Murrays… Having TWICE crashed and burned the festival after ramping up massive debts in a short length of time, aren’t credible. The Doune The Rabbit Hole brand – wrested from Community interest when it was in a growth phase and worth the sharp-end of half-a-million quid, is now trashed by the antics of these two.

        Are they crooks or are they just delusional incompetent yah-yahs? – doesn’t matter – neither is a viable business prospect.

        As I said… my own experience of dealing with BECTU isn’t positive and (like many) I took this tale of Craig Murray’s at face value at first; but I can read a balance sheet – and it was when I did and drilled a little further into the story it became apparent BECTU et al are in the right here. I’d love to be able to sit here and stamp my feet and tell you what evil barstewards they all are; but the unavoidable fact is that on this occasion they have simply done what a trade body or trade union are supposed to do and acted to protect their members…

        And frankly (yes I’ve been naive in the past) – what I’ve learned in the past few days about Craig Murray and the Murray family generally is a huge let-down. Why the heck should the ordinary working people of the Creative Industries – or for that matter the public purse, bail out the (frankly quite wealthy in relative terms) Murray family’s private businesses?? – Flog your fancy house and move into a Yurt if DTRH is such a good business proposition! – Your personal project need funding? Then fund it yourself! Just like every other business person has to do!

        Craig seeks to paint the picture of some vendetta being played out against him by ‘the establishment’; strikes me the absolute opposite is true and this well-connected posh-boy and his ‘crew’ get far too much slack cut for them, too many doors undeservedly opened for them, and too many handouts; and this brings me to another point:

        I’m grateful to Adrian for pointing out… ” the £175,000 was paid ‘over a period of a decade’ and looks a little less generous in that context. ”

        But let’s put it this way… I wish somebody would pay me £17.5K an extra year for nothing! – Which is probably more than many a Bartender or Cleaner EARNS via hard yakka! …More than many families with children have to live on. Certainly more than many pensioner households and disabled people get. …But then; it has always been so!

        In 1986 I was a 24-year old who had grown up, the son of a single parent (A Nurse) in Glasgow’s infamous Red Road Flats. Through my own efforts and determination I had trained and qualified (four year apprenticeship – HND and another two years to be considered ‘fully trained) as an ENG/EFP cameraman. I had some savings, and had returned to Glasgow – to the Red Road – to set up my own video production company…

        As a young person from an underprivileged background, my experience of the ‘enterprise systems’ was that it existed to give handouts to posh kids who either ‘had connections (Nepo-babies) or were the subject of perverse sexual interest on the part of the (largely white, middle-aged male) individuals that sat on the committees and boards.

        I recall well being ‘knocked back’ for one particular grant – despite being trained and qualified etc. and having a decent business plan.

        On the day of the ‘board’ I bumped into a girl I knew; skirt up her backside, ‘Erthas out’ for the boys… She was looking for money ostensibly to set up as a mobile hairdresser; the price of a car and a bit more.

        – Thing is; she wasn’t (as I knew and she admitted) a hairdresser; and freely admitted that she was going to blow the cash on moving out to Spain for a year or two! She got the cash – I didn’t. – And it wasn’t as though there was just the one lot of money that had to go to one or t’other…

        Other ‘beneficiaries’ of this shower who were holed up in a fancy ground floor suite (at public expense) just off George Square included the likes of Hutchie boys with airy-fairy schemes to become pop stars (they didn’t – though they did get nice synths bought for them that they didn’t know how to play) and some giggly Sloany females from ‘The Mearns’ who wanted to set up a ‘business’ knitting woolly hats and scarves and flog them (at stupidly inflated prices) from a shop near the Barras; needless to say that didn’t happen either.

        The lesson I learned back then – that as the old song says; “there’s no point in asking you’ll get no reply”; unless you’ve got connections or some creepy weirdo has the hots for you! Every penny I needed to start and keep going has had to be earned. – And that (in essence) has been my experience of the numerous ‘grant’ and ‘funding’ bodies that have come in and out with the tide since.

        Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Development Agency (as Was) – Creative Scotland (or whatever they’re calling it this week) and the collection of industry-irrelevant yah-yahs within it etc. etc etc. etc.

        In what will be 37 years come this October, I’ve never had – never been able to access – a solitary blind penny in cash nor kind by way of support or help or concession for my private business…

        Covid? We were almost entirely shut down for three years (long lead times couple to the previous uncertainty killed all last year’s booking) – and even this year is sparse. About the only mitigation we could have applied for was a loan; of the type that are now strangling many of the businesses that took them out… I’ve survived by plundering my ‘retirement money’ too; not only to replace the day-to-day income necessary to live, but meet the overheads that go with keeping a business sat around idle; which are almost the same as they are when it’s active…

        And of course the main point is; I’m not unique or special. I know a great many tradespeople and self-employed service providers who are in exactly the same boat. …Musicians, technicians, craftspeople; the sort of people who Craig Murray expects to carry his can for him!

        Craig Murray’s company got at least £90K to help mitigate the main Covid period; which is a damn sight more than most other folk did! That’s a business that employs one person (see the accounts!) and he’s now complaining how hard done by that the operation he and his son ran into the ground is now a bust!

        Forgive me if I lack sympathy for this poor little rich boy! – Maybe I should get myself a Paypal or Patreon account for donations; or maybe just pop my bank details at the end of any posts I make?

        1. Derek Thomson says:

          My goodness, the bitterness is strong with this one! There’s nothing infantile about spelling, it helps people to not misunderstand what you mean. I’m not going through your life story bullet point by bullet point, but the first thing I will say is that I’m from Muirhouse in Edinburgh, grew up there in the 70’s, single parent too, and sat an exam to go to a “good” school, so save me the class warrior crap. “Skirt up her backside”, “Eartha’s oot for the boys” – bloody hell mate, get a grip of yourself! Also, your gripe seems to be with anyone that asks for and receives money in donations – you do know that that’s how this blog operates too, as well as countless others? (Note to editor – I tried to donate, had problems doing so, and didn’t get any feedback on it – I’d still like to do so.) As I said yesterday (on Craig’s blog) I’m not saying that there is no truth in what you say, but your long reply makes it clear that most of it is caused by jealousy, not by any concern about the use of public funds. You’ve got a chip on each shoulder and a spare one for your back.

          1. The key words here seem to be “I’m not saying that there is no truth in what you say”.

          2. Matt Quinn says:

            Oh dear Derek… you do seem upset… and you’re not even very good at this! I haven’t read your most recent comments on Murray’s blog because I have not visited it (and will not) again. He has his claque and more fools them if they’re still taken in by him at this stage.

            …The very fact that he admits to having seen my response to him; but it has now ‘been disappeared’ speaks only of censorship; the fact that you (as part of his claque) appear to think this is ‘OK’ says more. – You persist in presenting childish retorts in an attempt to deflect (rather than address) the points I have made. That is Intellectually weak and lazy; and I’ll return to a couple of those vacuous retorts before I close.

            “I’m not saying that there is no truth in what you say…”

            No; you’re not, are you Derek? Actually, you’re doing your best to avoid dealing with the points I have made – choosing instead to try and misdirect attention.

            I’ve unspun Murray’s story, referencing public records which anyone can check for themselves. I have also unpicked some of his claims. For example, I have pointed out that he has been ‘economical with the truth’, in terms of the festival’s history and track record. I have also highlighted where he has deliberately attempted to misdirect his readership.

            At a casual glance, Murray’s tale surrounding the festival seemed plausible… I certainly took it at face value at first. But then I remembered, he isn’t actually the ‘”Journalist” Wikipedia says he is; simply getting things published doesn’t make you that. His entrepreneurial record is also somewhat dubious…

            Journalists and other media professionals (real ones that is) study media law as part of their professional journey. In Scotland we also study Scots law. In fact, this is common across the all the Creative Industries (CI) with music and events management, TV, radio and multimedia students all being given a grounding on how the law affects their activities. – This happens from the most elementary level onwards.

            …The very basic units in media law (the Scottish HN units for example) which most legitimate media professionals will study while taking their first steps cover things like Defamation, Reporting Restrictions The Official Secrets Act, Copyright and IP… etc. – This is of course mirrored at university level and sit core to things like the NCTJ courses. Something similar is true of most disciplines – anyone who had even done a basic F.E. level business course such as an SVQ will receive a grounding in Scots Law.

            Ignorance of the law being no defence even the self-styled ‘Citizen Journalist’ is obliged to at least reach for a copy of “McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists” – which being such an ‘authority’ on ‘this and that’ I assume Craig Murray does possess and is entirely familiar with.

            He ought to be – he even gets a mention in Chapter 41 of the 26th edition! (Try googling: HannaandHarrison_9780192847706_41_Online.pdf if you doubt me.)

            So… why doesn’t Craig Murray know his stuff? Why is he out there spouting nonsense?

            It seems risible in hindsight; but I had actually looked at the accounts of the Murrays’ festival with a view to bolstering the picture of BECTU as ‘the big bad wolf’; as I say, I’m not a fan of theirs.

            So I ran the same very basic checks I would on a potential client who had approached me with a project proposal that might tie up resources for a month or two. I was fully expecting to be able to support the Murrays’ position. Instead I found a disturbing pattern of behaviour on their part… one which simply doesn’t support the tale of a growing-but-stable community event hit hard by Covid then unfairly targeted by a malicious, politically-motivated body. – So I dug further.

            What I actually found was a relatively wealthy, well-connected and privileged individual, heading a family – which somehow appears to imagine the public purse is there to feed their vanity projects.

            Self serving… self aggrandising and utterly oblivious to the harm being done through incompetence; tone deaf; looking for the next handout or bailout for a project that has repeatedly failed due to mismanagement.
            Of course, he has ‘form’ in this respect…

            A genuine Journalist would not (for example) have got himself into the position that made it possible to prosecute and jail him for contempt of court. One with a genuine interest in justice would have been more skilled and circumspect in the way they published the allegations that the SNP, Scottish government, Crown Office and the police conspired to convict Salmond.
            In his enthusiasm to ‘showboat’ as an ace reporter in the so-called ‘alternative media’ he really did Salmond no favours… He could well have derailed the man’s defence; and whether the women involved were/are perjurers or not; it is for the law to bring them to book – not the likes of him to expose them to the risk of mob justice.

            Personally, I would like to see those women and the mechanism which operated them brought to book… but of course that prospect may well be negatively impacted by the publicity that went before.

            If Murray understood the law in Scotland (or alternatively wasn’t/isn’t trying to mislead people) he would understand why Lady Dorian moved to provide those alleged victims of sexual abuse with the same protections English law would afford them. – Nothing to do with a ‘cover up’; merely ensuring that there was a ‘sterile field’ for the surgical dissection of their claims; both in terms of the Salmond trial and any future operation of justice.

            The move on Murray’s part was in my view entirely self-serving; far from competent Journalism. He’s not the first so-called ‘Blogger’ to seek the martyrdom of a prison sentence and bolster their value on the ‘conspiritainment circuit of course. The state was ill-advised to oblige him and acted disproportionately. – Which, to be fair does support the view that it is corrupt; but then, it takes two to have a stairheed rammie.
            Back to the music then…

            Despite having had numerous ‘free rides’ and the benefit of every doubt going the Murrays STILL managed to Bankrupt the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival not once (as Craig Murray would like you to believe) but twice! And he still expect another ‘free ride’ at the expense of hard-working folk who are (for the most part) far less wealthy than the Murrays.

            The people to whom those huge debts are owed are largely small operators; sole traders, microbusinesses etc. – People who had extended credit in good faith; and had that good faith thrown back in their faces.

            …But it’s all BECTU’s fault for drawing attention to the naked emperor and nipping his continuing antics in the bud? – Really?

            Murray is claiming he wants to sue BECTU (will he be running another fundraiser for this I wonder?) and whipping up the ‘pitchfork and flaming torch’ brigade to support him – but in fact must know he hasn’t a leg to stand on. I say he ‘must know’ because he claims to be a Journalist (who would understand defamation law); and now we find him telling us of that law and how it works…

            Quoth the Murray:

            “There is a fascinating legal paradox here. If you run a campaign of malicious falsehood to bankrupt a business and succeed, the business cannot then sue you because it is bankrupted.”

            However… in reality were you named and/or implicated in any such ‘campaign of malicious falsehood’, you would be able to take action in your own right… if you actually had a case that is. Certainly, almost everything I’ve read (from BECTU and elsewhere) does implicate Murray, speaks of his behaviour and thus tends to lower his reputation ‘in the estimation of ordinary persons’…

            In fact, I’m one of the people in whose estimation Craig Murray has tumbled in the past fortnight or so. …But not particularly because of anything BECTU published about him.

            Murray was never an individual I gave more than passing attention to… Other than the state acting disproportionately and making a martyr of him; he came across as just one of many rather dull participants in the game of political ping-pong that goes around. I’d never looked far into him; certainly was never one of his devoted claque of followers.

            However, what I’ve recently read of Murray’s back-story is sleaze-ridden, tawdry and pitiful. What I’ve learned and seen evidence of in relation to the DTRH festival is nothing short of utterly appalling; and the fact that he’s self-deluded enough to take the line he has makes it all the more so.

            As for the ‘Lawyer’s Letter’ sent to BECTU… they would, in my view, be well-justified in simply repeating the infamous ‘Arkell Vs Pressdram’ response.
            …A private business comparing itself to Oxfam and claiming to be “community based”; when in fact it was taken out of the social enterprise domain the last time it ran up huge debts and went bust?


            The letter claims; “our clients’ event was run successfully for over a decade.”
            In reality records show that the original CIC was incorporated on the 10th of February 2011, dissolved on the 22nd of September 2020 (far less than a decade!) after filing to be struck off in February 2020.

            Its last posted accounts relate to an (extended) 18-month period up to August 2018; which (cross referencing other records) seem to be consequential to the 2017 festival. The headline here is that the CIC went bust back then owing nearly £450K which it ran up quite suddenly in what looks very much like a deliberate ‘crash and burn’ scenario in order to ‘strip out’ a valuable locked asset.

            – Success? Well yes, if asset-stripping from a previously social-enterprise and taking those assets into private hands was the objective, yes.

            The Lawyers go on to say to BECTU:

            “There is simply no justification for your conduct, no explanation for the vitriol for which you have singles out them and them alone, other than malice and animus towards the company and Mr Murray”.

            Well, I can certainly see at least one obvious explanation… the detail of which is laid out above. Exploiting the goodwill of sole traders and micro businesses to obtain credit which is later defaulted on seems to be an evidenced habit of the Murrays.

            Even if (and there may well be some question over this) everyone got paid from 2017/18 – did they actually get paid on time and on the nail? Or were they forced to finance delinquent cashflow for anything up to a year until the CIC finally closed its books?
            Did the creditors even recover everything they were owed by the ‘busted’ CIC? Were any of them forced to settle for less than they were owed through the attrition of delayed payment?

            And was this possible (let’s call it hypothetical at this stage) ‘free loan’, extorted from the CI community, effectively part of the ‘financing’ for the 2018/19 festivals as run by Craig Murray’s private concern? – i.e. were creditors ‘left hanging’ from 2017 to underwrite FBPS Ltd cashflow?
            All of that precedes the Covid crisis that did (is still doing) so much harm to so many businesses.

            For the first post-Covid 2022 festival, the reigns were handed to the same individual(s) who held them when the CIC was trashed; ring fencing the risks of production from the previously-extracted IP. This time they apparently ran up £800K of debt in record time before running for the cover of liquidation yet again! – And once again, the ‘cunning plan’ was for the CI community to take the financial strain, while Murray’s own private business traded on paying them back on the drip…

            As I have pointed out previously; the right and proper thing to do; if Craig Murray believed his private commercial venture to be a sound commercial proposition – and had the figures to back that position up – would have been to seek commercial funding. This is how things actually work in the real world.

            …Of course commercial funding does require credible figures and evidence of competent management at the helm. Another point is that a clamour of small creditors has less power to recover debt than a professional financier.
            So; is this why the Murrays’ manoeuvred in such a way as to effectively have their private business (the festival) underwritten by numerous small and relatively powerless creditors? Effectively now ‘holding them to ransom’… Either they continue to support the Murrays’ losses and negative cashflow, or they will not get the money they are owed at all!

            Well frankly, based on their past performance, that is likely to be the case anyway.

            For the record; Murray’s ‘White Knight’ story simply doesn’t ‘ring true’ either, this simply isn’t how large corporations or other substantial benefactors work. Long before you get to the ‘expecting a payment’ stage there is due diligence to be done and letters of understanding to be exchanged; ultimately formal agreements to be signed.

            There would be no reasonable doubt (because there would be documentary evidence) of what was agreed with whom under what terms; this notion of a mysterious old man who agreed to this and that but never properly established his credentials is ridiculous!

            – Is this story 100% fantasy? Or did a potential benefactor, this large corporation’s representative’, simply cease communication when some simple desk-checks were done following an informal discussion and it was discovered they were not dealing with any kind of charity or social enterprise at all? Did they perhaps feel the Murrays had insulted their collective intelligence and consequently just cut them dead?

            – And for the avoidance of doubt, the notion that they might have been considering setting up some sort of ‘charity’ purely to channel those funds makes the whole story even more dubious!

            If an ordinary CI trader making simple desk-checks on the DTRH fiasco can piece this together, then the professional music and events managers which BECTU have to hand will have done at least the same and probably far far more…

            It may come as a surprise to those who simply ‘wing it’ and blag their way through life; but legitimate, trained, qualified professionals do not simply chuck random baseless statements around willy-nilly. – I seriously doubt that any statement issued by BECTU was not (a) drafted by an individual who was trained in and knew the law and (b) cross-checked by a qualified specialist Solicitor.

            Certainly, as an outsider with some relevant professional background, it strikes me that BECTU et al were not only entirely justified in warning their members (and the wider CI community) not to participate in DTRH – but would have been grossly negligent in failing to do so!

            BECTU will have far more information to hand than I can access – they will also have the testimony of people affected by the Murrays antics. – As the story gains traction, more aggrieved people might well emerge. Ultimately, the mismanagement of DTRH is down to Craig Murray and his son. – And ultimately it emerges he’s not the character many of us might have once imagined he was.

            Turning then to your own antics Derek… as from your previous responses (here and elsewhere) you seem keen on pedantry.
            “There’s nothing infantile about spelling, it helps people to not misunderstand what you mean.”

            I gave you my response to your infantile criticism of my spelling, on Murray’s blog. As you very-well know, I never said there was anything “infantile about spelling” itself; that’s just something you fabricated; and as such is mere ‘deflection and projection’ which sets the tone for your response.

            ‘ “Skirt up her backside”, “Eartha’s oot for the boys” – bloody hell mate, get a grip of yourself!’

            Unlike the hormonal middle-aged ‘wee-head thinkers’ the (then) young lady in question was quite deliberately trying to (and entirely succeeded in) manipulating, I’m not overly-prone to ‘getting a grip of myself’. – Perhaps you are and think it beneficial?

            …Factually, this young woman used her sexuality (in a way that would have been obvious to a blind duck on a skateboard) and misrepresented her intentions, to obtain monies under false pretences.

            Given her youth and naivety and the times (it was circa 1985) – If you were to ask me who I blame, it’s the hormonal, corrupt, middle-aged fat blokes who held the purse strings and were swayed by such a stunt. Arguably she committed a crime and ‘conned’ these stupid men into giving her money. – If you seek to defend that sort of thing then it’s you Derek not me, who requires to reflect upon their values and morality.

            I cite the incident as one example of how corrupt the system is and always was.

            ” …your long reply makes it clear that most of it is caused by jealousy, not by any concern about the use of public funds. You’ve got a chip on each shoulder and a spare one for your back. ”

            Risible! I’m forced to ask (rhetorically) if a ‘long’ reply is more than your short-attention span is programmed to deal with? – Or, if you’re simply uncomfortable with the ‘devil of the detail’ being dissected and laid out?

            Please do clarify exactly what I have to be ‘jealous’ about. – Do you perhaps think I am also Jealous of the various drug-dealers and organised criminals that infested (still do) the part of Glasgow I grew up in? – People who made fortunes exploiting the weak-minded and disadvantaged? Maybe you think I’m ‘jealous’ of the likes of Andrew Tate? …Or Donald Trump?

            Many will observe that the latter often reaches for the line that you just did; ‘that kind’ often does.

            Craig Murray has absolutely nothing in his life that I might remotely covet.
            – I am happy to admit though that I resent those who blag and bluff and fake their way through life both at the public expense and the disadvantage and displacement of the legitimate and I’m not alone in that. For example; on another forum a contributor (Anton Decadent, 2nd July, 2023 ‘Wings Over Scotland) writes:

            “I am involved in a branch of the Arts and have stood on the sidelines for over a decade watching a culture of nepotism, cronyism and political, but also ethnic, favouritism which makes the Masons look like amateurs.”

            ‘Twas always so say I…

            “It is a sometimes privately educated middle class playing the victimisation card and punching down onto the white working and underclass.”

            Although I baulk at (and reject) Anton’s view of the targets as specifically “white” (they’re not, universally – and I certainly disassociate from the vision of this as some sort of racially based exploitation) the Murrays would appear to fit that ‘middle class playing the victim’ profile… a profile that is both common and perennial.

            – As I said before; ‘poor little rich boy’.

            “I’m not going through your life story bullet point by bullet point, but the first thing I will say is that I’m from Muirhouse in Edinburgh, grew up there in the 70’s, single parent too, and sat an exam to go to a “good” school, so save me the class warrior crap.”

            Lucky old you… I was given no possible choice about what school I went to; no opportunity to go to a “good school”. There was no such option under the state system and my Mother certainly didn’t have the money to send me anywhere else. Neither was there any help or mitigation for my struggling with the written word.

            Despite which I did pretty-much as well as was possible to do at that place attaining the maximum number of ‘O’ grades (7) and Highers (5) it was possible to sit there. – And through the genuine social conscience of what was then a progressive trade union; I was provided with the opportunity to enter a field that was otherwise closed to ‘kids’ of my class and background.

            It was through self-discipline, personal financial investment and determination that I raised my educational profile to where it is… Perhaps in your day you got a grant?

            No, you’re not “going through (my) life story bullet point by bullet point Derek – because you know nothing about it. But, in another strawman retort, you attempt to project at me the claim that I am trying to be a ‘class warrior’…

            Of course, I make no such claim; that’s simply another fabrication of yours created to deflect from the complete lack of counter to my points…
            The Norwegians have a saying; “the thief thinks everybody steals”… Your world might be full of self-styled ‘warriors’ and other pretentious, self-aggrandising frauds; mine isn’t.

            – I’m simply one of the (ordinary little) people who isn’t fooled for very much of the time. Just ‘another Bozo on the bus’.
            In truth I merely point out the injustice of certain people being ‘parachuted in’ to positions of influence and having doors opened for them, merely because of their (arguably dubious) connections and pretence – as opposed by their knowledge, competence and ability; people like Boris Johnston for instance – or the cronies of corrupt politicians.

            …Or indeed those prepared to ‘sell themselves’ (to any degree) to dirty old men; or for that matter women.

            If you do happen to have any counter to the points I’ve made about the Murrays and the focus of their private business – the Doune The Rabbit Hole festival, please do feel free to present it. Simply shooting the messenger progresses nothing though.

          3. Derek Thomson says:

            Aye, whatevs.

    2. Adrian D says:

      Interesting post – just a point of info – the £175,000 was paid ‘over a period of a decade’ and looks a little less generous in that context.


    3. Lapsed Agnostic says:

      Re: ‘there would have been the impact on (harm done to) the CIC’s creditors to consider’

      There is no evidence, Matt, that any creditors of the Doune the Rabbit Hole CIC suffered any long-term harm. The company was voluntarily struck off in 2020. You can only do that if your company either has no creditors, or if all of its creditors are able to be re-imbursed in full out of its current assets (after administration fees).

      As detailed on page 5 of its 2017/18 accounts, the ‘£450k 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 from CM).

      Finally, if you think that the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival brand is, or ever was, worth over £480k, then I’ve got a golden bridge in San Francisco that you may be interested in.

      1. Matt Quinn says:

        Unfortunately ‘LA’ your comments counter nothing I have drawn attention to:

        The question of whether harm was done to creditors by the collapse of the original CIC remains an open one… and on the balance of probabilities (based on the evidence of these accounts) it is indeed likely that harm was done – why?

        36+ years in business (that is to say quite a bit of experience) says that slow, late, short and non payers are a risk that needs to be managed because they ultimately cost money. Very small companies and Sole Traders will very often have to seek emergency overdraft or loan finance to support disrupted cashflow; often at rates and on terms which really do hurt them – sometimes poor cashflow is ‘fatal’ to such enterprises.

        Factually, musicians, performers individual tradespeople and other small suppliers are often young and callow people who have more ‘fallen’ into trade than set out in business… easy prey for the unscrupulous. Slightly larger firms may have better mitigation strategies in place. – But ultimately (for everyone) it’s not just about getting paid in full; but getting your money in time… Whether the harm was ‘long term’ or not is utterly irrelevant. And there’s the rub.

        – It’s important to resist deflecting from the timeline here; for it is extremely relevant.

        “As detailed on page 5 of its 2017/18 accounts, the ‘£450k 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 from CM). ”

        In reality, the books ‘made up to’ the 31st of August 2018 reflect not only an extended accounting period of eighteen months… but are not signed off until the 30th of May 2019. They certainly do not evidence that all suppliers were paid on the nail at the end of the festival. – The notes to those accounts are ‘comedy gold’ as they were written by the Director of a once-social-enterprise who must reasonably have known ot had been driven to its knees.

        They also indicate that the company is indeed in this ‘£450k black hole’. There is actually nothing in that note you refer to which says that loan was ‘substantial’; only that it had no fixed repayment terms. – However; the accounts actually show £451,998 falling due within the year.

        So – in terms of Harm done I repeat: Even if everyone got ‘paid eventually’ from 2017/18 – did they actually get paid on time and on the nail? Or were they forced to finance delinquent cashflow for anything up to (or perhaps more than) a year until the CIC finally closed its books?

        …It really doesn’t matter whether Murray himself was the ‘ substantial creditor’, although if he was, and he acquired the IP in satisfaction of that ‘debt’; this really only supports a view of the entire trasaction/fiasco as entirely dubious.

        “The company was voluntarily struck off in 2020.You can only do that if your company either has no creditors, or if all of its creditors are able to be re-imbursed in full out of its current assets (after administration fees). ”

        Ain’t necessarily so… The Companies Act 2006 in sections 1004 and 1005 provides reasons where a company cannot apply to be voluntarily struck off. Rather than my writing this up, research what a ‘CVL’ – Creditors Voluntary Liquidation – is. CVL is the most commonly used director led process where it is realised the company is insolvent and cannot continue to trade without exposing the Directors to personal sanction.

        The records tend to reflect that the CIC company was in trouble by February 2018 and last submitted accounts to August 2018; the actual date they filed to strike it off only reflects the time taken to put it out its misery;.

        Again I’ll repeat…

        ‘Did the creditors even recover everything they were owed by the ‘busted’ CIC? Were any of them forced to settle for less than they were owed through the attrition of delayed payment. And was this possible (let’s call it hypothetical at this stage) ‘free loan’, extorted from the CI community, effectively part of the ‘financing’ for the 2018/19 festivals as run by Craig Murray’s private concern? – i.e. were creditors ‘left hanging’ from 2017 to effectively underwrite FBPS Ltd cashflow?’

        BECTU et al seem to be indicating that they have evidence of disquiet while the esteemed editor of this site writes: “We have been contacted by dozens of acts who have not been paid.”

        …Given that these people actually have the professional training and legal advice at their back; it strikes me as unlikely they would make such claims if they lacked the documentry evidence to substantiate them!

        “Finally, if you think that the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival brand is, or ever was, worth over £480k, then I’ve got a golden bridge in San Francisco that you may be interested in.”

        I’m not sure with that comment whether you are deliberately trying to misdirect the reader; or have (understandably perhaps; I’m no wordsmith) not understood what has been laid out here… Wasn’t me that valued the IP at that price. Murray incorporated his private company in April 2018 – four months before the ‘made up’ date of the (apparently troubled) CIC’s last published accounts; which would not actually be signed off to appear untill well over a year later.

        …It’s in the first accounts of Festival Beverage and Property Services (made up to the 30th April 2019) that intangible assets of £481,551 are recorded.

        Going back to those notes to the CIC’s last accounts; they are framed in deeply misleading tones. – There is much twaddle about ‘community building’ and ‘opportunities’ given to countless musicians etc… and how the festival had grown in 2018. Every account I’ve been able to find in relation to the 2018 festival says it was actually run by FBPS; only the notes to the CIC accounts suggest it ran 2018. – Much smoke, many mirrors.

        – FBPS could not run DTRH without the rights; and the only place those rights could be acquired if from the now defunct CIC. It’s not a question of what I might think the IP is worth; it’s what value it is given on the balance sheet. …Then there is the whole matter of a ‘scheme’ which it would appear caused the otherwise locked-assets of a social enterprise to be transferred to wholly private hands.

        1. Tom_Q_Collins says:

          “36+ years in business (that is to say quite a bit of experience) says that slow, late, short and non payers are a risk that needs to be managed because they ultimately cost money. Very small companies and Sole Traders will very often have to seek emergency overdraft or loan finance to support disrupted cashflow; often at rates and on terms which really do hurt them – sometimes poor cashflow is ‘fatal’ to such enterprises.”

          At the proverbial end of the day, what you’re doing there is engaging in pure speculation without any evidence to back it up. To put it more bluntly and succinctly, WHO ARE THE PARTIES that suffered as the result of the alleged non- or late-payments? Has anyone put their name to such claims?

          1. Dozens of companies, acts and bands have, yes. Who would make such things up and why?

        2. Tom_Q_Collins says:

          “A genuine Journalist would not (for example) have got himself into the position that made it possible to prosecute and jail him for contempt of court. One with a genuine interest in justice would have been more skilled and circumspect in the way they published the allegations that the SNP, Scottish government, Crown Office and the police conspired to convict Salmond.
          In his enthusiasm to ‘showboat’ as an ace reporter in the so-called ‘alternative media’ he really did Salmond no favours… He could well have derailed the man’s defence; and whether the women involved were/are perjurers or not; it is for the law to bring them to book – not the likes of him to expose them to the risk of mob justice.”

          For someone who allegedly never gave much of a passing glance to Craig Murray, this sure condenses and summarizes the specious “reasoning” that went into his legal persecution. Have you actually read his responses to these exact charges/claims? Because they are addressed one-by-one at his blog, and the fact that you felt the need to smear him on a topic completely unrelated to this festival or its finances tells me you’re not being honest about what you knew of him before this whole DTRH kerfuffle arose.

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