OXFORD'S biggest music festival Common People has been scrapped after going into administration with debts of more than a quarter of a million pounds.

The two-day event has brought stars from around the world and more than 10,000 people a day to South Park for three years.

Headliners included Duran Duran, The Jacksons, Pete Tong, Sean Paul and Oxford rock band Ride.

Oxford Mail:

It also provided a platform to local bands, artists and performers and brought thousands of pounds to local businesses both on site and in the city.

But after hitting financial difficulties, the event has been scrapped.


A statement posted with Companies House by liquidators shows debts of more than £267,000.

The figure includes debts to contractors and suppliers and possibly some artist fees, though Common People has failed to comment.

Oxford Mail:

Oxford City Council is owed about £5,000 for the hire of the park and its corporate arm Direct Services is owed another £2,000 which includes the cleaning bill. Oxford Story Museum is owed £1,000.

The event was staged by DJ Rob da Bank, who also ran Bestival and the family-focused Camp Bestival, both in Dorset.

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However, his company Bestival Ltd ran into financial difficulties last year, partly brought on by a weekend of bad weather last summer which forced the early closure of Camp Bestival. Refunds were promised to ticket holders. Many artists – including Plan B and London Grammar – were also owed money.

Camp Bestival has been rescued and will be run by Live Nation and promoter SJM. However Common People Oxford and its sister event in Southampton will go.


Oxford Mail:

Mary Clarkson, the city council's executive board member for culture, said: "Everyone at Oxford City Council is absolutely gutted that Common People Oxford will not be returning.

"We spent many years building the relationships that enabled us to bring the organisers of Bestival to Oxford and we have been proud to host them in South Park over the last three years.

"Not only did Common People bring world-famous acts to Oxford, they made a real effort to make the festival feel part of the Oxford community by providing low-cost tickets for Oxford residents, working with local artists, DJs and bands, and collaborating with local cultural organisations.

“The city council is committed to bringing another annual festival that celebrates Oxford’s culture and diverse communities to South Park as soon as possible, and we’re in discussions with other festival organisers about this.”

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Oxford Mail:

Among those left out of pocket is Ronan Munro of Oxford music magazine Nightshift, who organised the local band stage and is owed £475.

He said: "The whole festival was really pro-Oxford and really good. We had the local band stage but also the Disco Shed, Cowley Road Carnival and others.

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"Also a couple of Oxford bands opened up the main stage which is a great experience. It was so well-organised and all the bands who played there loved it

"But, while they did well for the first two years, last year was a disaster. It's hard to get the line-up right at a festival as all the big acts are swallowed up by the large events – and the festival scene is saturated."

He added: "I am owed nearly £500 which is a lot for me."

Oxford Mail: Common People Oxford 2016 by Stevie Gedge ( drone )..Common People Oxford 2016 by Stevie Gedge ( drone )..

Speaking to the Oxford Mail at last year's event, Rob da Bank said he was disappointed crowd numbers had not been higher and was frustrated at the BBC for issuing overly-pessimistic forecasts for the weekend – which enjoyed glorious sunshine. He said bleak forecasts for rain had slashed walk-up trade with many people unwilling to take the risk.

Among the bands who played the festival were Oxford vintage jazz act the Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band. Frontman Stuart Macbeth said: "We had three glorious years of Common People, bursting on to the local music scene and it's given a huge boost to the local bands, MCs and DJs. It's a real shame to see it go but we should take strength from what a superb, lasting music scene we have in the city.

"I'm sure there are many, many more glorious events soon to hit our streets."

Oxford Mail:

Micaela Treadwell, executive director of Cowley Road Carnival organiser Cowley Road Works said: "For the past three years Common People has been a real asset to Oxford, and we were especially pleased to see the organisers provide so many great opportunities for local bands and DJs to perform, contributing to a friendly, vibrant and fun atmosphere that the community could enjoy. We and hundreds of local artists and musicians have enjoyed taking part in this unique festival and would be sad to see it go."

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Baker Julia Atkinson of north Oxford's Happy Cakes sold cup cakes from her customised tricycle at the festival and said its loss would be a blow to traders. She said: "As a music lover I'm really sad that it isn't happening this year. I've been every year and absolutely loved the fact that there was a major music festival in the heart of my city. It had such a great atmosphere and was family friendly.

"As a trader I'm also really disappointed. There aren't that many opportunities like that here and it was such good fun to see so many familiar faces and be part of something in the heart of the community."

A spokesman from liquidator Begbies Traynor, said: “Common People (Oxford) Limited and Common People Festival Limited went into liquidation and the business and its assets were not bought by any other company. As a result there will be no Common People festival in 2019.

“We are unable to make any further comment.”