Cleethorpes Pride organiser rips off suppliers and performer as future Pride events cancelled

Cleethorpes Pride organiser rips off suppliers and performer as future Pride events cancelled

Local suppliers including Docks Beers and a performer have been left high and dry after Craig Brown, organiser of the Cleethorpes Pride Festival, cancelled their attendance at this year’s event at short notice, failed to repay a deposit, a cancellation fee and did not pay for stage equipment provided to the event. Several companies have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket.

The festival, which took place at the Meridian Showground on Saturday 22nd July, was the second Pride event organised by Mr Brown after he put on a festival at the same venue last year. Mr Brown was reported to have sold over 1500 tickets to this year’s event in local media, but it is believed fewer than 200 actually attended.

Now, all of Mr Brown’s future bookings at Meridian Showground have been cancelled after he blamed problems at this year’s event on a combination of the council and the weather.

Gi Grimsby News has been handed documented proof that at least two local businesses and one performer have been left with losses totalling thousands of pounds after Mr Brown failed to refund a deposit and did not pay for a stage hired for the event. He has also not refunded the hotel bill and cancellation fee of a performer he cancelled on the day.

Local brewery Docks Beers, who paid a £1700 deposit to secure their place as the bar provider to the Festival, had their attendance cancelled with ten days’ notice and have not been repaid a substantial deposit.

A spokesperson for Docks Beers, a regular bar provider to Meridian Showground, commented: “Craig Brown insisted on deposit payments to his personal account in January and February totaling £1200, and further payment of £500 in May. We are big supporters of Pride and having seen an article about the high volume of ticket sales we paid the money in good faith.

“On Wednesday 12th July we received an email from Mr Brown cancelling our attendance and saying we would receive a repayment of the deposit monies within 3-5 working days. According to his schedule we should have been repaid before the festival, but many broken promises to pay later we have still not received repayment.

“In addition to the unpaid deposit, the short notice cancellation has left us holding thousands of pounds of stock we don’t usually carry, plus we spent thousands of pounds on additional mobile beer dispense equipment. Our deposit payments went into Craig Brown’s personal bank account so we fail to understand why he could not repay us immediately. We are left to conclude Mr Brown used our money to fund the festival, or to pay for his other expenditures which is not acceptable. It’s a significant sum and a business our size cannot afford to lose it.”

Mr Brown has also not paid Grimby based SPL Event Services for the stage he hired. The stage and performance logistics company is owed an amount in the thousands by Mr Brown for equipment they supplied to the July event.

A spokesperson for SPL commented: “After first promising to pay us on the day, and then seven days after the event, Mr Brown has not paid us and we are still waiting for the money over two weeks after the event. It seems Mr Brown has a total lack of regard for the losses of local suppliers.

“We have been to visit the address of the premises he gave us for our invoice and he is not known there. This is concerning and would suggest improper business practices. At the very least his general approach to suppliers and festival organisation is, in our view, totally against the spirit of Pride.”

Singer songwriter and former X-factor runner up Nicholas McDonald was due to perform at Cleethorpes Pride, but he was cancelled on the day of the event when Mr Brown sent a text message alleging that North East Lincolnshire Council had “cancelled half of the event due to bad weather.” Mr McDonald was about to set off to Cleethorpes from Scotland when he received the message from Brown at 7:30am.

Mr McDonald commented: “I had turned down other work to attend Cleethorpes Pride so this cancellation left me without work for the whole weekend as I had put aside two days to drive there and back. So far as I know the council did not cancel the event. It took place as planned and Craig Brown should refund my hotel costs and meet my cancellation fee. As yet he has not, there is always another reason for non-payment and I am not hopeful I will see the money I am owed by Mr Brown.”

Other suppliers pulled out of this year’s Cleethorpes Pride event after Mr Brown failed to supply set-up information and accurate ticket sales information.

When questioned about Mr Brown’s allegations that North East Lincolnshire Council had partially cancelled the event, an NELC spokesperson referred to it as “unexpected”, adding that they had given “significant” support and investment to the organiser.

They later added: “North East Lincolnshire Council can confirm that at no time did the authority or any or its representatives suggest that Pride should be cancelled in any way. Nothing was cancelled by the local authority.”

We contacted Craig Brown for a statement, but have yet to hear back.

More to follow.

If you or your business have been impacted by last-minute cancellations, or have not been paid by Cleethorpes Pride Festival, we want to hear from you. Get in touch by emailing

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