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Money Perth Fringe Festival performers among creditors owed $672,000 after JumpClimb collapse

03:30  11 august  2018
03:30  11 august  2018 Source:   msn.com

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Artists and performers left tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket after the collapse of management firm JumpClimb are told it is unlikely they will see any of the money owed .

JumpClimb owed artists 0, 000 before its collapse . Fringe World performers say they are missing out on the benefits of Perth ’s biggest annual festival , with some losing thousands after registration and venue hire fees on top of costs. Comedy festival lost 0, 000 . Perth Fringe Festival books

a man and a woman posing for the camera: Magician Matt Tarrant (r) and partner Kiera Blackwood had to cut back on their wedding plans.© Matt Tarrant Magician Matt Tarrant (r) and partner Kiera Blackwood had to cut back on their wedding plans.

Artists and performers left tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket after the collapse of a Perth-based management firm have been told it is unlikely they will see any of the money owed.

Perth-based event promoters JumpClimb, who were responsible for booking acts at the wildly popular Perth Fringe Festival and running other large-scale festival events, such as the Beaufort Street, BeauVine Food and Wine and Kegs by the Key festivals, went into liquidation in May.

Directors Paul Fletcher and Aaron Rutter were behind the Noodle Palace venue at the Perth Fringe.

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The Fringe Festival is a live, performance-art festival . Because of the open and non-juried structure of Fringe , festival goers can expect to see many original works in everything from theater to dance to film to comedy and more.

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Three months on from the collapse of four firms associated with the duo, a report from liquidators said there were "limited assets" in all companies.

"At this stage, I consider that there is unlikely to be a return to unsecured creditors," the report by liquidator Bob Jacobs said.

The report found unsecured creditors for Noodle Palace were owed a total of $672,000.

These included performers and the Australian Taxation Office. The amount JumpClimb estimated it could not pay back was $610,600.

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Performer's wedding impacted

Performer Matt Tarrant, a magician who was booked for the Noodle Palace venue this year, said he was owed about $35,000 and had to scale back his wedding plans as a result.

"Fortunately we haven't had to cancel, it hasn't been that drastic, but it probably meant … there have been some budget restrictions, there were probably a few people cut off the guest list that we would have liked to have there," he said.

"A few family members haven't been invited so there's more drama than maybe you'd expect at a normal wedding, and I know there's a lot of drama at most weddings."

He said he was given no sense the firm was experiencing financial difficulty when they booked him.

"There is absolutely no way I would have said yes if I knew that was the situation," he said.

He said it had soured his experience of Fringe and the city, but he was considering coming back after festival organisers reached out.

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Comedy festival lost $250,000

Perth Fringe Festival books performers directly, as well as allowing third-party management firms like JumpClimb to book acts.

Ticket sales are paid to the management firms, who are then supposed to pay the performers.

The liquidator's report cited Noodle Palace's spiralling debts in part from the last festival when they entered into a contract with the City of Swan to run "Midlandia", a comedy festival in Perth's east, about 30-minutes' drive from the city centre.

"I am advised that this event made losses of around $250,000," the report said.

JumpClimb Pty Ltd also received a garnishee notice from the Australian Tax Office for $296,6000 of unpaid BAS and superannuation guarantee charges.

After this the directors restructured the company, setting up three other firms and transferring large sums between them in an apparent bid to remain solvent.

The liquidator noted JumpClimb appeared to cease trading around October 2017. Perth's Fringe Festival ran from January 25 to February 25 this year.

Perth Fringe Festival organisers in May announced they would give back $85,000 they made from ticket sales so artists could be paid some of the money owed.

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Perth Fringe Festival performers among creditors owed $ 672 , 000 after promoter collapses . Artists and performers left tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket after the collapse of management firm JumpClimb are told it is unlikely they will see any of the money owed .

The ABC understands the Fringe Festival has made changes for next year that will see performers booked through third-party firms like JumpClimb paid a direct portion of ticket sales.

Computers 'wiped' before handed over

The report also found while the company's external bookkeeper provided access to accounting software, the computers handed to the liquidator had been wiped of all records.

"Following my discovery that the computers used by the directors had been wiped prior to handing them back to me, … I also took steps to seize control of the Company's iiNet email and DropBox accounts," Mr Jacobs' report said.

He said he was satisfied the company had kept adequate records.

"However my investigations are continuing as to why the directors deleted data from the computers prior to providing them to me," he said.

"I note that the directors have largely met my requests for information and attended meetings when requested."

Mr Jacobs' preliminary report found Noodle Palace had been trading whilst insolvent.

"As early as November 2017, the directors were warned of the company's financial distress by its bookkeeper and a supplier outlined that continuing to trade whilst insolvent was a breach of directors' duties."

At least 13 suppliers had been getting paid some money on a payment plan from Noodle Palace, but a number of these plans were defaulted on.

Mr Fletcher and Mr Rutter have been contacted for comment.

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