A ONCE popular music festival has been cancelled “for the foreseeable future” after an entertainment union urged people not attend, following reports that workers and performers were still waiting to be paid for last year’s event.

Tickets for Doune the Rabbit Hole - which is organised by former diplomat Craig Murray - were unable to purchase on Wednesday.

Now bosses have released a statement confirming that this year’s festival has been cancelled in part due to calls from the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union for people to boycott the event.

A statement read: "We are beyond devastated to announce the cancellation of Doune The Rabbit Hole 2023 and the end of the Festival for the foreseeable future as a result of the call for a boycott of the event by BECTU."

It comes after numerous acts and workers at last year’s festival complained about never being paid for their work.

One of the festival’s organisers, former diplomat and blogger Craig Murray, previously said that the Covid-19 pandemic had led to the festival entering liquidation last year.

However, it was relaunched under a different company with this year’s festival set to take place from July 21 -23.

After reaching a three-year payment plan agreement with BECTU following numerous complaints about unpaid wages, Murray said that the pandemic had led to the festival’s inability to cover costs.

“It made huge losses from two Covid cancellations and the only way I could see to recover its losses was to go much bigger,” he said. “But that didn’t work, it didn’t sell the tickets we needed to.”

In a lengthy blog post published following the announcement of the event’s cancellation, Murray said that he had cashed in his pension savings to pay for the 2022 festival.

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“With a week to go, having lived at site now already a couple of weeks during the build, sales were still not picking up, and it was now too late to cancel. Life became really unpleasant.

“Money was lacking to pay people for essential, safety critical equipment and operations, and I found myself cashing in all my pension savings and paying for these things direct.”

He added that “negative” stories about the festival had contributed to its demise.

“There has been a constant bombarment of negative stories,” he said. “Often fuelled by BECTU. They have campaigned openly to destroy the festival, calling for a boycott, for artists not to perform, and for suppliers to break their contracts.”

BECTU previously accused the festival organisers of “financial mismanagement” and expressed concern about their policy of employing unpaid volunteers to “build fences, construct marquees, work in catering, and build roads”.

The union has hit back at organisers’ claims, saying they have amassed well over £1 million in unpaid bills to both bands and staff.

A joint statement released by Bectu, the Musicians Union and Equity on Wednesday evening said many of the headline acts from last year were paid nothing other than deposits.

The statement added: “In some cases bands are owed tens of thousands of pounds with no hope of getting their final payments, and this year’s 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 three years. They have not provided any such information and that undertaking to repay those debts is now in jeopardy.”

Those who purchased tickets for this year's festival are being encouraged to pursue a refund through their bank.