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Hop Farm Music Festival at Paddock Wood will not return next year says organiser Neil Butkeraitis after company faces liquidation

The Hop Farm Music Festival will not be held again, say the organisers, after the firm behind it began liquidation proceedings.

The stricken event, which was cancelled last year by previous promoter Vince Power due to poor ticket sales, returned this summer under new management.

It was run by Neil Butkeraitis using UK Events and Production, his specialist music and entertainment company and UK Security Services and Products Ltd.

Crowd enjoying Marc Almond performs on the main stage at the Hop Farm Music Festival
Crowd enjoying Marc Almond performs on the main stage at the Hop Farm Music Festival

But today the Kent Messenger learned that the company created specifically for the Paddock Wood event, Hop Farm Music Festival Ltd, is to be the subject of liquidation proceedings at the High Court of Justice next month.

Mr Butkeraitis was a director of all three of the Nottingham-based firms, and resigned from the latter on September 10, the last of the three directors to leave.

He said finanical disagreements behind the scenes, meant that contractors were left unpaid, including his own firms.

“The festival will not continue. It is cursed ground."- festival organiser Neil Butkeraitis

He said: “In 10 years in the industry this has never happened to me.

“The event was delivered under our £3million budget -what didn’t stick up was ticket sales but the festival was part of a three year plan for the site.

“Even though everyone locally enjoyed the festival and we had some big acts lined up for next year and now three of my companies look like they will go into liquidation.

“I’m absolutely gutted. The festival will not continue. It is cursed ground.”

But he did add that he was looking into setting up another festival in the area.

Grace Jones performs on the main stage
Grace Jones performs on the main stage

The festival, held at the Hop Farm family attraction in July, included a three day line up including The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Kinks frontman Ray Davies and Grace Jones.

The event, which saw less than 10,000 people through the gates each day, was a scaled down affair compared to the festivals held by previous organiser, Mr Power, with stars such as Prince and Bob Dylan drawing crowds of around 30,000

The Irish promoter has since been banned from playing live music, after London’s High Court ruled that he had held the event for years without the appropriate licence.

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