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Businesses still out of pocket from cancelled Newbury jazz festival in May

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The festival, organised by De:Luxe Sports and Events, was due to take place in Victoria Park however was cancelled due to bad weather.
At the time, director Warren Brown promised pitch-holders a free place at an alternative event in the town or nearby, however a date for such an event is still yet to be confirmed. Services manager at Newbury Town Council, Granville Taylor, said Mr Brown has not approached the council to arrange a replacement event.
Owner of Henley-based business The Thai Hut, Sarah Buckner, said she had launched a small claims case against Mr Brown and De:Luxe Events in a bid to see her money returned.
“The fee was £250. I paid it all straight away and I have been struggling ever since to get the money back,” she said. “I have got a list of emails as long as your arm promising next day payment.
“He keeps telling me there has been a cheque sent and it has been lost and he’s going to pay, but he hasn’t.”
Tim Wale, of Tutts Clump Cider, said he was also awaiting a refund.
He said: “They don’t answer any emails, they don’t answer phone calls or texts of Facebook messages.”
Meanwhile, owner of Newbury cheese shop Just Add Grapes, Greg Brighouse, said that he was still selling the £300 of wine he purchased especially for the event.
When it was initially announced, the festival was greeted with enthusiasm from the local community. However, in the run-up to the event several groups, including West Berkshire Mencap and Swings and Smiles – who were both due to get a cut of proceeds from the festival – pulled out of the event due to communication issues with Mr Brown.
Research conducted by the Newbury Weekly News found that at a similar event in Sunningdale in July, the Ascot Day Centre, the charity beneficiary, didn’t receive a penny from De:Luxe Events.
Chairwoman of Sunningdale Parish Council, Christine Gadd, said: “They would get a percentage of the takings. That never happened. Communication became a huge issue.”
Responding to questions by the NWN, Mr Brown said the delayed payment to Mrs Buckner was due to a dispute but added that the funds had been paid last Saturday.
“The lady was paid through our system on Saturday,” he said. “All other brands have been refunded due to my knowledge. If anyone is still out of pocket then they have my number and email. I am very accessible.
“With regards Sunningdale, the event was poor due to morning rain. We are looking to come back bigger next year and raise lots of money for the day centre.
“No one from the charity attended the event and therefore no collections were made.”
At the time of the Newbury Weekly News going to press on (Wednesday), Mrs Buckner had still not received the refund.

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