Payout for landlord over Van Morrison pub gig

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The Independent Online

A pub landlord who said his business faced ruin when Van Morrison abruptly cancelled a gig won £40,000 in damages from the rock singer yesterday.

Gary Marlow, 44, who owns The Crown pub and hotel in Everleigh, Wiltshire, hailed his award as a victory, although he had sued the musician for £400,000 and may have to pay six-figure legal costs.

Leaving the High Court, he said: "I would like to say I am absolutely thrilled that we have taken on one of the kings of rock and we have won. Unfortunately, we didn't get what we should have had but nevertheless we have beaten him."

Mr Marlow sued Van Morrison, 57, and his production company, Exile, when the gig at his country pub was called off a month before its scheduled date in August last year. He had already sold 1,500 tickets for £32.50 each. The claim included a £20,000 advance fee paid to Exile and lost profits from tickets, food and damage to his business reputation. Mr Marlow said that monthly takings plunged from £25,000 to £7,000.

But Mr Justice Cresswell dismissed a personal claim against the singer, and added: "I am not persuaded that there is a link between the cancellation of the concert and any reduction in turnover ... In my judgment, Mr Marlow has sought to maximise his claim without regard to the underlying realities." He also remarked on Mr Marlow's failure to reimburse £33,670 to ticket-holders and said he had a number of "serious concerns about the accounting and other records of the business and related issues".

Mr Marlow, whose 17th-century pub has hosted concerts by the blues musicians Peter Green and John Mayall, was said to have turned down Van Morrison's offer of far more than £40,000 to settle the case.

The singer's solicitor, Paul Tweed, said afterwards that his legal team would seek a six-figure sum for legal costs today.