With the lineup locked in, Newcastle’s Fat As Butter is getting ready for its first edition as a camping festival this October, but just two months out from the event, the Aussie music festival’s promoters Mothership Music have announced they are going into liquidation.
The shock news arrives just after the promotions company lost an ongoing court case against Flo Rida over the rapper’s no-show at the 2011 edition of Fat As Butter, the chart-bothering star managing to weasel his way out of more than $400,000 in damages owed to Mothership Music, showing just how crucial retaining those losses were for the company.
Liquidator Scott Turner confirmed that Mothership Music Pty Ltd, of which Fat As Butter promoter Brent Lean is a director, had been placed into voluntary liquidation, as reported by the Newcastle Herald. The promotions company, which presents a range of events including this year’s Crows Festival, owes almost $200,000 to the Australian Tax Office as well as smaller debts to a handful of other unsecured creditors, including Mr Lean.
The $200k+ debts owed by Mothership to the ATO shows reveals just how much they were relying on a court win against Flo Rida, suing him over his 2011 no-show – cancelling just minutes after he was scheduled to on stage to an audience of 11,000 attendees who’d paid upwards of $110 a ticket.
After dodging summons from Mothership Music, a NSW Court judge approved that the serving of papers to Flo Rida over Facebook and ordering he pay $380,400 in damages and $37,745 in legal fees to Mothership Music, but on Tuesday a panel of judges at the NSW Court of Appeal upheld Flo Rida’s appeal that using Facebook to issue the summons against him was not appropriate, resulting in him weaselling his way out of the $400,000 fine. Liquidator Scott Turner confirmed that Mothership Music Pty Ltd, of which Fat As Butter promoter Brent Lean is a director, had been placed into voluntary liquidation
Despite Mothership Music going into liquidation, Mr Lean assured that the promotions company’s financial struggles would not affect this year’s edition of Fat As Butter. “The festival has been successful since 2008 and will continue to grow and be a major player in the festival market for many years to come,” said Lean in light of the liquidation news, asserting that the legal stoush with Flo Rida was through Mothership Music, and not as Fat As Butter.
Fat As Butter 2013 will go ahead as planned this October with its lineup featuring Gym Class Heroes, Matt Corby, Bliss N Eso, Boy & Bear, and more, as well as marking the debut of its new camping grounds, a first for the festival after Newcastle City Council are looking to approve submissions to allow up to 870 punters to pitch tents on Shortland Lawn at the Foreshore for the duration of the festival, running from 25th – 27th October.
As the Newcastle Herald reports however, local residents aren’t happy about the decision. David Stewart of the Newcastle East Residents Association calls the camping proposal “unacceptable”, while the Sandhills Community Garden group are also in opposition, complaining that drunken youths at last year’s Fat As Butter destroyed and littered in local gardens.
Responding to concerns over noise regulations, a spokeswoman for the city council said the festival would face large fines if they did not adhered to strict volume guidelines, while police would be on hand to ensure ‘rigid’ security measures, but had extended the community consultation period to decide on the camping permit issue by another two weeks before they reach a final decision.
Promoters Mothership Music say they have provided extensive information to meet council and community requirements for Fat As Butter, which is expected to draw 18,000 people and around $1.8 million to local economy.
Tone Deaf reached out to Mothership Music for comment but they were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.