THE firm behind Oxfordshire’s Harvest Festival has left debts of £1m in its wake, affecting a string of people from big businesses to individuals.

The Oxford Mail can today reveal the number of people owed money after event organiser Big Wheel Promotions collapsed.

What was described as a “lovely event” - backed by former Blur musician Alex James - has now turned sour.

Big Wheel, based in Soho, London, organised the festival, which was held on former Blur bassist Mr James’s Kingham farm in September.

But following the festival, the sister event of another held Suffolk on the same weekend, the company made loses of more than £1m, with many creditors based in Oxfordshire.

One of the biggest creditors is Absolute Event Solutions, of Headington, which provided the security.

It is owed nearly £46,000, with partner Neil Holdstock revealing that it almost wiped out their profits for the year.

He said: “It has meant that we have had to cut down our permanent staff hours and put in place measures to save money. It has damaged our ability to expand.

“We are lucky that we are going to just about get through it.”

Thousands of people turned out for the first Harvest Festival, including Witney MP David Cameron and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, with weekend tickets costing up to £115.

The concept behind the event was to put on a weekend dedicated to food and music, with KT Tunstall, The Kooks and Athlete performing, plus chefs including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Tommy Burden, who let the company use his Sarsden Lodge Farm, near Chipping Norton, to access the festival, was owed £6,000.

He said: “I bent over backwards to let them use my farm. I am very angry.

“There was no hint that something like this would happen.”

Another creditor was East Oxford-based FBS Productions which was owed more than £300 for providing publicity for the festival.

Jon Mackay, 38, a teacher from Charlbury, was owed £350 for running a children’s workshop at the festival.

He said: “It would have paid for our summer holiday. The extra money would have been nice.

“It is quite annoying but, thankfully, it is not make or break for me.”

Technically, Big Wheel did not go into administration, but entered into a voluntary agreement with its 200-odd creditors to pay back some of the money.

There are 11 creditors in Oxfordshire, collectively owed £57,506.34.

With the company’s assets as a going concern valued at around £200,000, a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) was reached last week in which Big Wheel will give back 20p in the pound of its debts.

Mr James previously said he was “appalled at Big Wheel’s financial mismanagement of what was a lovely event”.

A spokesman for Begbies Traynor, the corporate rescue company handling the case, said: “The company has effectively ceased trading but, in a liquidation, creditors would have received virtually nothing.

“Under the CVA they are estimated to receive 20p in the pound, which therefore counts as a good deal.

“Big Wheel Promotions ran two festivals in September 2011, which unfortunately lost a lot of money and led to this outcome.”

The directors of Big Wheel – Paul Franklyn, whose address is listed as Kentish Town, London, at Companies House, and Shabir Jobanputra – could not be contacted last night.

Kingham Primary School, which was not on the list, is also owed £7,000 for organising entertainment. A fund-raising concert is being held in Chipping Norton Town Hall next Friday.

Figures known to Begbies Traynor correct as of October 28, 2011: Jon Mackay of Charlbury (£350) Tommy Burden of Sarsden (£6,000) Tracey Gittins of Carterton (£175) AD Health & Safety of Chalgrove (£2,100) Absolute Event Solutions of Oxford (£45,997.80) Amber Carter of Woodstock (£100) Carter Jonas Estate Agents of Summertown (£1,832.64) Emma Buxton of Chipping Norton (£420) Esma Hawkins of Oxford (£100) FBS Productions of Oxford (£311.50) Millie Miles Event Hire of Weston-on-the-Green (£119.40)