Organisers of the Isle of Wight's Wowfest have cancelled the festival, it's being reported.
In a statement issued today, WOWfest organisers said: "Following consultations and full consideration, it is with heavy hearts and much regret that we have been forced to announce the postponement of WOWfest 2012.
"Putting the festival together, in what is proving to be a very challenging year and with damage inflicted by anti-festival lobbyists, was more difficult than we anticipated. We have spent the last year fighting hard to establish and keep WOWfest in the calendar. Unfortunately circumstances have dictated that this is no longer possible to achieve in 2012.
"Although great confidence had initially been shown by the Isle of Wight Council to grant a Premises License for 18,000 rising to 22,000 capacity over a three-year period and to further grant permission to run an event of that size under the Isle of Wight Act there are many forces trying to prevent the event happening. There is no doubt of the WOWfest team operational capabilities to deliver such an event.
"However, the Isle of Wight Act conditions imposed by the council on May 18 required a lump sum payment of over £140,000 for council and emergency services to be brought forward to May 31. The conditions also stipulated the need for a financial bond of an unspecified and potentially unlimited amount to be made to the Isle of Wight Council.
"WOW Festivals Ltd informed the Isle of Wight Council and responsible authorities, before the payment deadline for over £140,000 under the Isle of Wight Act fell due, that WOWfest would revert to run a downsized event – under the size (5,000) at which the Isle of Wight Act is invoked.
"However, the Isle of Wight Council rejected a minor variation application to voluntarily reduce the capacity and hours of operation on our Premises Licence and the Police decided to call for a full licence review, at the start of the Jubilee weekend. "Undue and untimely pressure has resulted in one of the organisers suffering a stroke over the Jubilee weekend.
"The planned event for 2012 will need to be postponed. "Alternatives have been briefly assessed but time is against us and therefore the only sensible decision is to cancel WOWfest 2012 on the Isle of Wight and look to the future in 2013.
"Ticket holders for WOWfest 2012 will be refunded.
"Whilst we will be in touch with them all separately, in addition to this announcement, we want to openly express our deepest regrets to the artists and to thank all the people, suppliers and contractors who worked so hard with us to try and pull off what has proved to be a monumental task when there have been so many people determined to destablise the event with negative publicity and actions. We also want to send a huge thanks to the partners and people who stuck by us and we are so sorry that we can’t fulfill what we set out to do in 2012."
Council Leader David Pugh responds
Cllr David Pugh: "I would challenge their claim that they have been forced to postpone the event, and that a factor was “damage inflicted by anti-festival lobbyists.
"Whilst it remains our view that this event should never have been granted a licence, its failure is entirely down to the organisers and their inability to put in place sufficient measures that would have met the delivery of the four licensing objectives.
"It was only a matter of time before this conclusion was reached, and it is a shame that the organisers have sought to divert attention from their own shortcomings in making this announcement.
"It remains a particular concern of ours that so much public resource has been used preparing for this event – such as all the IW Act documentation – when it is now clear that did not intend to pay this by the deadline, if at all.
"We now wish to see not just the licence revoked, but to ensure that all the ticket income money is refunded – either from WOW Fest Ltd or The Music Shop (one of their other companies) which has been selling tickets on their behalf. This has to be a priority – and no-one should be left out of pocket.
"This has been a very sorry tale from start to finish, and has caused much unnecessary anxiety along the way. I also hope that the Island’s strong reputation for successful festivals will not in any way be damaged by the negative publicity of this failed event."