​THE companies behind two hugely popular annual festivals held in Dorset could go into administration after reported action by a billionaire businessman.

The organisers of Bestival and Camp Bestival say they have “every intention” of bringing back the events despite the reported move by James Benamor, founder of Amigo Loans.

Mr Benamor – Dorset’s richest man according to the Sunday Times Rich List – is believed to have filed notices at the High Court of his intention to appoint administrators to Bestival Group, Bestival Ltd and Camp Bestival.

The 41-year-old, a star of Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire, owns Richmond Group Debt Capital, which loaned £1.6m to the festival companies last February and took a charge on some of their assets.

A statement on Camp Bestival’s website said: “We can confirm the Bestival Group has had some financial challenges of late but the process we are in allows a new partner to come on board with the financial commitments required to deliver Camp Bestival 2019 in its finest form.

“As we stand currently, there is every intention to make this show happen, and move forward into a new era.”Thanks and love to all our wonderful Camp Bestival community for all your support X”.

Landowner James Weld, of the Lulworth Estate, said: “As far as I know, they have every hope of holding, certainly, Camp Bestival in 2019, which I hope they do because I think it’s been a successful event – good for Dorset and the local economy. It would be a shame to lose it.”

He said the estate was not owed money by the organisers.

“I’ve never had any issues with them at all. They’ve always behaved very well and paid when they should have paid,” he added.

“They’ve had their challenges as anything of that size goes, but generally it’s been a very successful relationship and we’ve certainly not had any issue with them at all.”

Bestival was started in 2004 by the DJ Rob Gorham — aka Rob da Bank — and his wife Josie and was held on the Isle of Wight until it moved to Lulworth Castle last year. This year’s performers included Mark Ronson, Grace Jones and London Grammar.

Camp Bestival, described as the event’s “little sister”, is a family-friendly offshoot which has been based at Lulworth since its beginnings in 2008.

This year’s event finished early because of heavy rain and strong winds. 
Its website said the cancellation of the Sunday events was not a reason for the current difficulties “although it was not a positive factor for the business”.

It said 2019 tickets remain valid and there was “no reason to believe Camp Bestival won’t go ahead as planned”.

Tickets were not on sale yesterday, while those buying through monthly payments were told that the seller Ticketmaster “will be in touch with you directly to resume their monthly payments”.

James Benamor, a former Poole Grammar pupil, has told before of his troubled youth.

He founded Amigo Loans, which offers loans to people with poor credit histories if they can find a guarantor. Its representative 49.9 per cent variable APR means someone borrowing £4,000 for 36 months would pay back £7,025. He resigned as a director in 2016.

He was reported to have become a billionaire this summer when Amigo Holdings was floated on the stock exchange and he sold shares, along with other managers at his company the Richmond Group.

The Times estimated his paper and cash fortune at £1.1billion, nearly triple the previous £380m estimate of his net worth which had made him the highest-placed Dorset person on the Sunday Times Rich List.

The Richmond Group and Camp Bestival did not respond to request for comment.