Goldsmith facing eclipse after festival flops

HARVEY GOLDSMITH, the flamboyant British promoter who gave the world Live Aid and brought Pavarotti to the parks, has been forced to put his company into receivership after suffering huge losses trying to stage a music festival during August's solar eclipse.

After an emergency meeting last night, Mr Goldsmith and his fellow directors decided to call in the receivers because of the failure of the six-day Total Eclipse festival at Plymouth.

The festival featured top performers such as dance band Orbital, Asian Dub Foundation and Roni Size. Crowds of 25,000 were expected, but only about 7,000 turned up. Mr Goldsmith is said to have lost "substantial" sums on the event.

The largest of the eclipse festivals, Lizard 99 at Goonhill Downs in south Cornwall, which had Kula Shaker, James and The Levellers, has already placed itself in receivership with debts totalling about pounds 1m.

Mr Goldsmith has blamed the festival's failure largely on the eclipse co-ordinating group, which included Devon and Cornwall county councils, for issuing dire warnings about traffic chaos, food and water shortages and inflated prices for accommodation and other services. There has also been criticism of local authorities' refusal to allow on-day ticket sales at events.

A statement from the receivers Buchler Phillips in London said the receivership was a direct result of "substantial" losses suffered by the Total Eclipse festival in Plymouth.

News of Mr Goldsmith's financial straits followed the collapse last year of a three-way deal merging his two main companies with the interests of theatre promoter Raymond Gubbay.

Mr Goldsmith refused to comment last night, but Buchler Phillips partner Lee Manning said: "Our strategy will be to work closely with the directors to respond to a number of approaches from potential investors interested in the ongoing business of concert promotion and event production."

String of failures, page 5

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