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Blur's Alex James to host new festival after the collapse of Harvest
Blur bassist Alex James will hold a new food and music event at his farm a year after the failed Harvest festival he hosted left a string of debts in its wake.
Mr James has teamed up with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to hold the new 9,999 capacity event at his home in Kingham, West Oxfordshire.
It will be organised by Brand Events and is set to be called ‘Jamie Oliver presents The Big Feastival with Alex James’, pictured right.
Harvest was held at his farm at the same time of year and was organised by Big Wheel Promotions.
But the firm subsequently collapsed with debts of £1m, owing 11 Oxfordshire firms a total of £57,506.34.
The new event, on the weekend of August 31 to September 2, will focus on food as well as music. One of the biggest creditors of Big Wheel was Absolute Event Solutions, of Headington, which provided security and is owed nearly £46,000.
Managing director Stuart Chamberlain said: “We have just managed to survive.
“I have spoken to Alex about it myself and I very much understand it was not his doing or his fault, it is just his name attached to it.
“It was entirely down to Big Wheel, which I am furious with.
“But it was actually a good event that went very well and I would still very much like to be part of this year’s festival.
“So long as the finances are sorted out, it should be a successful event for years to come.”
Tommy Burden, who allowed Big Wheel use of his Sarsden Lodge Farm, near Chipping Norton, to access the festival, is still owed £6,000.
He said: “Apart from people not getting paid, it went down well last year.
“I have not got a problem with another festival on the farm at all – as long as Big Wheel are not involved.”
Big Wheel has agreed a company voluntary arrangement to give back 20p in the pound of its debts.
Brand Events submitted a licensing application to West Oxfordshire District Council yesterday to hold The Big Feastival.
It will feature live music on Friday and Saturday night until 11pm and on Sunday night until 8pm on a main stage and smaller performance areas.
No acts have yet been finalised, the company said.
Brand Events, under the banner Taste Festivals, holds large food events in locations such as Dubai, Sydney and London.
Taste Festivals chief executive officer Justin Clarke said: “Taste Festivals has a flawless track record of producing leading food and drinks events around the world.”
Brand Events has sought permission to serve food and beverages until 2am on Saturday and Sunday and until midnight on Sunday.
Alcohol could be served until 1.30am on Saturday and Sunday and until 10.30pm on Sunday.
Mr Oliver and Mr James were unavailable for comment.