The Future Music Festival 2014 lineup lands next week, with rumours already heating up surrounding the bill for the March music festival as it gets its debut next year under the new alliance forged with Frontier Touring and the Mushroom Group’s Michael Gudinski.

The new alliance between Frontier Touring and Future Music promises to deliver a lineup that’s set to be “one of the biggest yet”, but attention has been drawn back again to the controversial financial collapse of companies associated with Future Entertainment Pty Ltd, which had operated the flagship Future Music and Summadayze festivals until those trademarks and their intellectual property were transferred to a new company only months ago.

The transfer of the festival brand to a new company, called Future Music Pty Ltd, found it in in the hands of directors Michael Gudinski and his executive son, Matt, who have previously noted they acquired the brand from a mysterious third party. But a new report from The Age has identified the mystery broker as one Maria Papadimitriou, suggesting she is responsible for the transferral of the festival brand from the former companies as they faced financial troubles.

Ms Papadimitriou is apparently responsible for the registration of three companies back in May – Music Events Holdings Pty Ltd (the company formerly known as Future Entertainment Pty Ltd), Music Events Tours Pty Ltd (formerly Future Tours Pty Ltd) and Music Events Operations Pty Ltd (formerly Future Events Pty Ltd) – all of which have entered liquidation as a result of a court order in Victoria’s Supreme Court earlier this month.

Some of the trademarks associated with Future executives Jason Ayoubi and Mark Condron (aka Mark James) were also transferred to Ms Papadimitriou back in May around the same time as the registration of the new companies.

Additionally, the websites and are registered to companies in Ms Papadimitriou’s name.Gudinski is keen to emphasise that the new “strategic alliance” with Future is “an entirely new company… it has nothing to do with those other companies [that are being wound up];”

Michael Gudinski has also confirmed that it was from Ms Papadimitriou that he was able to effectively purchase into the Future Music Festival partnership. “I believe that an investor had bought some assets and that’s where we got involved,” Gudinski tells The Age, “that’s who we bought the IP [intellectual property] from, that woman you asked the name of,” referring to Maria Papadimitriou.

But just how Papdimitriou figures into the Future staffing remains elusive, with both Sydney and Melbourne offices acknowledging her associations with the company, but without clarifying how or in what capacity.

Gudinski is keen to emphasise that the new “strategic alliance” with Future, which includes Frontier Touring presenting the underage Good Life festival next March, is “an entirely new company… it has nothing to do with those other companies [that are being wound up];” he also insists the new festival deal saw no money change hands and it was not a takeover.

The new joint venture lists Gudisnki and his son Matt as directors, while electronic industry pioneer Brett Robinson will also be heading the team. But despite distancing themselves from the companies formerly tied to Future that are being wound up, Gudinski’s says that former Future boss Jason Ayoubi would be kept not, though without any stake as a director or a shareholder. “Jason has no financial involvement. However, he’ll be doing some consulting,” says Gudinski.

Ayoubi, along with his business partner Mark Condron (aka Mark James), who were estimated to have earnings of $4.661 million according to the BRW’s Top 50 Rich List for 2012, are embroiled in the financial woes of the company formerly known as Future Entertainment Pty Ltd, where court documents obtained by Tone Deaf showed that the company had been thinking about its financial position since at least October 2012.

Regardless of their financial position, it seems that the company pressed ahead with the 2013 editions of Future Music Festival and Summadayze, though seemingly at a loss, with a number of creditors still owed financial debts from the company, including production companies, equipment hire businesses, fencing companies, and alcohol suppliers such as Carlton United Breweries and Moet Hennessy, with estimated debts of around $500,000. That figure is likely to grow as an official investigation into the liquidation gets underway.

On the same day that the Frontier Touring/Future Music alliance was announced, a Federal Court hearing described Future Entertainment Pty Ltd as “essentially a two-dollar company,” according to Farifax Media, whose only assets “appear to be… six trademarks,” that had recently been transferred out of the company – presumably by Maria Papadimitriou – because they “were being sued and pursued in other proceedings,” in the words of Justice Bernard Murphy.

The Court records to show the action to wind up the three former Future listed companies was brought over debts of around $22,215, by accountants who specialise in insolvencies and who had not been paid for services when representatives travelled to Sydney in November 2012 to discuss the appointment of an administrator, although it is not known what the outcome of that meeting was or what was discussed.

The liquidator assigned to the wind up has signalled to The Age their intention of looking closely at the transferral of assets, brands, and intellectual property formerly belonging to Future Entertainment Pty Ltd (aka Music Events Holdings Pty Ltd) in its investigation, in a case that appears to be similar to the ‘phoenixing’ scenarios of companies belonging another Aussie promoter, Andrew McManus.

The liquidated companies had also recently been in court over a trademark dispute with ice-cream makers Cold Rock, who were awarded court costs after Justice Murphy dismissed Future Entertainment’s suit against Cold Rock on the basis that they failed to turn up to three hearings on the matter, and that they no longer owned the trademarks they were disputing.

Justice Murphy ruled that Future Entertainment had treated the defendant “shabbily” and the court “with contempt,” awarding court costs to the defendant and suggesting that the transfer of the trademarks could be to avoid any legal dramas associated with the wind up action, an action reflecting the “obvious financial trouble the company is in.”

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