Doune The Rabbit Hole Organiser Speaks Out

They want to run the festival again in 2023...

Doune The Rabbit Hole organiser Craig Murray has insisted he is “not a crook” despite failing to pay numerous artists and crew members for this summer’s event.

The festival is hosted on an estate close to Stirling, and has earned warm reviews in the past for its low-key, convivial feel and eclectic bill. Taking two years out due to the pandemic, Doune The Rabbit Hole returned this summer, with headline sets from Belle & Sebastian and Amy McDonald.

The event seemed to be a success, but earlier this week artists began to speak out on late payments. An investigation from Scottish newspaper The Herald found that headliners Belle & Sebastian had only received partial payment; more than a dozen artists had received nothing at all.

Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival Ltd – the holding company for the festival – has now gone into liquidation. It intends to run once more in 2023, organised by a new company, Festival Beverage and Property Services Ltd.

Remarkably, the festival is owned overall by Craig Murray – a somewhat controversial political blogger and former UK diplomat.

The Herald have spoken to Craig Murray about the situation at Doune The Rabbit Hole, who blamed lack of ticket sales for the ongoing financial issues. “We were advised by booking agents and people in the industry with that line up we’d sell 12,000 tickets, no problem. But we just didn’t. We spent more on marketing than TRSNMT did but we still only sold 6,000 tickets. And that’s what happened.”

“We were flummoxed. Until Easter, ticket sales were extremely good. They were 300 per cent up on previous festivals. But once the cost of living crisis hit, they fell off a cliff.”

He added: “Now we’re in this terrible position where we owe all these people money, which we feel awful about. Genuinely, absolutely sleepless nights awful. And if we don’t run the festival again, they’ll never get paid. There isn’t any money.”

Continuing, Craig Murray insisted that he had poured his savings and pensions into the festival, and following an agreement with the liquidator the Doune The Rabbit Hole team intend to run another event in 2023, to pay off any outstanding debts.

“There’s no other way of getting any money for the people we owe. My life savings have already gone. I understand why people are angry. Of course, I understand why people are angry. I feel just awful about it.”

The full interview can be found on The Herald’s website.

Last night – December 21st – Doune The Rabbit Hole attempted to launch a Crowdfunder to subsidise the debts and ensure outstanding payments are met. The move was met with some – perhaps understandable – hostility, forcing it to be deleted. The team wrote: “We have removed our last post. We realise it was doing more damage than good despite our best intentions.”

Scottish artist Honeyblood set up her own GoFundMe page, with all proceeds going to artists. Find it HERE.

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