The Bestival and Camp Bestival music festivals have been snapped up by a multi-millionaire Dorset entrepreneur just days after a collapse into administration.
Richmond Group, controlled by the loan broker James Benamor, is buying the festival business after offering £1.1m for Bestival’s assets and brand. Richmond had lent Bestival Group £1.6m in February last year.
Benamor founded Amigo Loans, a Bournemouth-based company that offers quick guarantor-backed loans, which was floated on the stock exchange in July. The business is valued at more than £1bn and Benamor’s Richmond Group has a stake of 61%.
Julie Palmer, of the advisory firm Begbies Traynor, who was appointed administrator on 20 September, said she had received more than one offer for the business but Richmond’s was the best bid.
Bestival was launched in 2004 by DJ Rob Da Bank and this year was headlined by the performers Chaka Khan, Grace Jones and Thundercat. It began on the Isle of Wight but relocated to Lulworth Castle in Dorset in 2017.
Its sister festival, Camp Bestival, which launched in Dorset in 2006, is aimed at a family audience and this year featured Simple Minds and Rick Astley alongside Peppa Pig and Paddington.
In a statement Benamor said: “We have been fans and supporters of Bestival since the beginning. Our children have grown up with wonderful memories of these festivals. Bestival is an example of Dorset being world class and we are keen to ensure that this fantastic institution goes on to delight families and local businesses for many years to come.”
On the Camp Bestival website it said that tickets for the 2019 festival remained valid and there was “no reason to believe Camp Bestival won’t go ahead as planned”.
Hundreds of 2018 Camp Bestival attendees are still hoping for a refund after the festival was forced to close a day early in July because of poor weather. The company said the cancellation of the festival’s Sunday line-up this year was not the reason for its financial difficulties but said it had not been “a positive factor for the business”.
Richmond Group said that under the terms of its offer all Camp Bestival 2019 tickets sold so far would be honoured.