Joint union statement on Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival cancellation

22 June 2023

Bectu, The Musicians’ Union and Equity are of the view that it is unfortunate that the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival due to take place in Stirlingshire on the weekend of 21st – 23rd July 2023 is now cancelled.

However over the last few years this festival has amassed well over £1 million pounds in unpaid bills to both bands and staff (£800,000 in 2022 alone). Many people including the headline bands last year were paid nothing other than their deposits, in some cases bands are owed tens of thousands of pounds with no hope of getting their final payments, and this years cancellation will impact yet more bands and staff.

As trade unions we have tried to have a constructive dialogue with the organisers of the festival, but the undertakings which were offered to us were not forthcoming. The organisers said that they would share sales figures in order to reassure us that they would make enough profit this year to begin to repay the debts owed by the previous festival. They stated their intention to repay those debts over 3 years. They have not provided any such information and that undertaking to repay those debts is now in jeopardy.

In a radio interview on Good Morning Scotland on June 8th Craig Murray, one of the festival’s organisers, stated that Doune the Rabbit Hole currently has ticket sales of £5,000 per week, but needed ticket sales of £25,000 per week to be on target. That he sought to blame trade unions, and by implication the very people who work so hard at the festival each year, was incredibly disappointing.

We had agreed with the organisers that they would offer 100% deposits up front to those considering working at the festival, but again Craig disclosed that this has not happened, so once again those who had agreed to perform and work at this year’s festival will be left out of pocket by the failure of those organising the event.

As trade unions we are concerned that the festival was able to enter liquidation last year and be reborn so quickly with so many of the same faces involved, and that concern has been born out with so many of the same issues this year.

We would urge any members affected by the cancellation to make contact with their trade union and will provide all the support we can.