Howard Jones:What Dick appears to be saying is that a festival shouldn't begin to plan the next year's event before it's paid off the debts from the previous year. That is an ideal position which I suspect is not realistic in practice, and under those conditions I doubt many festivals could go ahead. Organising any event, but especially a large and complex one like a festival, means entering into obligations and incurring costs up-front in the expectation that in time there will be sufficient income to cover them. That is not in itself immoral or illegal, and is the financial model for a great many businesses which can't rely on a steady income stream but are dependent on a single event to bring in income.
The debts are really a matter between the festival and its creditors. In Beverley's case the racecourse appears to have been willing to extend credit, not only for the previous year but to allow this year's event to go ahead. The problem has not been caused by debts being called in but by the loss of anticipated income because funding has been withdrawn. This is something to which many festivals are vulnerable.
In my opinion the organisers would only have been acting immorally if they had sold tickets when they should have known there was a good chance that the festival would not go ahead. If the funding was always uncertain but the decided to go ahead in the unreasonable hope that it would materialise, then they may well have been acting irresponsible, and possibly were trading unlawfully and could face sanctions. If not, then they took the only course open to them once the funding was withdrawn, by going into liquidation.
Exactly this! A sensible précis of the situation, rather than the emotive bluster we've been getting from some quarters. So I thought it would bear re-quoting.