Local arts company hit in pocket by collapse of festival organiser

AN ARTS company said it was unable to take part in this year’s Mossley Light Festival after being left out of pocket to the tune of almost £1,000 by the collapse of another firm.

Cabasa was left fuming after Geronimo owner Simon Goldman reformed two others immediately, including one running a Winter Funland at Manchester’s EventCity.

Emily Wood

The company, which provided many of the puppets and costumes for the parade, was forced to cover the costs of artists used at events at Knebworth in Leicestershire for Geronimo Events.

On the back of a devastating fire at Ray Mill in Stalybridge, which destroyed much of the stock belonging to the group and Global Grooves, it hoped to at least have an involvement in 2018.

However, being told the company had gone into liquidation and it would not receive a penny for what it had done killed off any intentions Cabasa, based at The Vale on Micklehurst Road, had.

Emily Wood, who runs the group which took puppets and costumes to both Knebworth and Arley Hall in Cheshire, was left cursing.

“We were already quite wary of them when we decided to work with Geronimo again,” said 35-year-old Emily, who lives in Whalley Range, Manchester.

“But considering the year we’ve had, with the fire and everything, we needed to work as many festivals as possible.

“We were paid after the one we did at Arley Hall but after Knebworth, on August 8, we received a letter to say they had gone into administration.

“I thought, ‘That’s unfortunate,’ then two weeks later I got a letter to say Simon Goldman had reformed two companies.

“It was just under £1,000, about £970, which might not sound a lot but to a small arts group, especially after the year we’ve had, it means a great deal.

“After the fire, we had to take on as much work as possible – we had no reason to think that we would not get any money from one of the jobs, it came as a real surprise.

“I thought we would be fine for Knebworth, then nothing.”

Cabasa has spent much of the time since the Ray Mill fire in March trying to recreate 10 years of work by both them and Global Grooves.

Emily said she has made up a lot of what was lost but says there is still a fair way to go.

One of the things that suffered was Mossley Light Festival, for which the groups made much of the costumes, puppets and lanterns.

This latest blow finished off any plans they had of getting something on the streets in 2018-19, though, is a very different story if it goes ahead.

“Our work featured alongside Global Grooves, being the lead partner by creating some of the costumes and different puppets that were used in it.

“We were looking at doing something this year, despite the fire, but when we lost out on the money, we had to do something different.

“Normally, after all the artists have been paid, any money left is reinvested into new creations and running things like community projects.

“One thing I didn’t want to do was leave the artists out of pocket – the last thing we want to do is not pay people.

“That definitely stopped us from doing it.

“To be honest, I’ll be glad to see the back of 2018 after the fire and now this. It’s been rather stressful, shall we say.

“However, if the Mossley Light Festival goes ahead in 2019, we’ll definitely be involved in it.

“There are also a few more things in the pipeline for next year, some really exciting projects.”

Simon Goldman commented: “While we put our hearts and souls into creating and delivering Geronimo Festival, it has not been profitable for the last four years.

“During this period all the salaries of performers and contractors were paid in full, despite Geronimo making substantial losses.

“Due to the delivery of an additional festival down south at Knebworth House and our accumulated losses, the difficult decision was taken to place the business into voluntary administration.

“We are entirely sympathetic to all creditors, many of whom have already contacted us and agreed to work with the new company to deliver Geronimo in 2019, and we are hoping to be able to offer work to other creditors too.

“The largest losses were sustained by Geronimo itself. Many suppliers are working again with us in 2019 as they understand the difficulties festivals face, with the two largest children’s festivals both going into administration in 2018, Geronimo and Camp Bestival.”

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