The warning signs were there from the beginning. It was late January 2014, and a curious poster promoting a new indoor festival called Jabberwocky proudly adorned All Tomorrow's Parties' website. A joint venture between Primavera Sound, Pitchfork Festival and ATP, Jabberwocky was set to place in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park over two days during mid-August. The festival was supposed to be the sort you rarely find in the city during summer: cheap, yet boasting the sort of impressive line-up of popular and respected alternative artists only ATP could assemble in the UK. The recently reformed Neutral Milk Hotel were going to headline, Pissed Jeans, Caribou and Deafheaven were playing too, with many more yet to be announced. The internet got excited, as it is inclined to do. Blogs blogged. People talked. Tickets even went on sale and were eagerly snapped up. Everything seemed great.

Until it wasn't. Because, soon enough, every shred of information about Jabberwocky was expunged from the internet with the precision of a secret service operation. It was soon apparent that someone fucked up and, somehow, accidentally announced an entire music festival. A deafening silence followed thereafter. People speculated about its cause: ATP was embarrassed; it was just damage limitation; the 'leak' occurred before the announcements of this year's Primavera Sound and Pitchfork Festival, and, because all three festivals hosted similar artists, they were pissed. Amidst all this speculation, however, the great silence remained undeterred. It carried on this way until until mid-February, when ATP finally announced this neat new festival called Jabberwocky. With that announcement came a significant clue about the embargo: it had changed venues from the Olympic Park to London's ExCel Centre. A unique choice to say the least. Apart from that, however, everything was as it was before, when we could talk about it.

While ATP's recent woes were clear to see -- debt, liquidation, the cancellation of events (in the interest of balance, ATP's founder Barry Hogan refutes the claims made in that article) -- the backing of Pitchfork and Primavera bestowed upon Jabberwocky façade of stability and prestige. ATP may have fucked up before, but their partners ran a tight ship. So, despite ATP neglecting to say anything about the erroneous announcement, we could easily attribute it to individual error over anything else. And for a few months, things went incredibly well. The festival accrued an impressive line-up, adding the likes of James Blake, Panda Bear and Kurt Vile & the Violators. People were excited. This seemed to be the redemption that ATP had hoped for, the bright beginnings of a new era. Their famous UK holiday resort weekenders had just been put to sleep, ostensibly because Hogan wanted to do something new in the UK, something like Jabberwocky, and it seemed to be paying off.

Ah, but more warning signs. Rumours circulated last month about the festival's cancellation. These rumours were not necessarily fabricated, but found their origin in leaked information from a source close to ATP. This information concerned the company's financial issues and seemed to suggest that it would be a miracle if the event went ahead at all. ATP enthusiastically denied these rumours. Then, last week, Sun Kil Moon's Jabberwocky date was removed from his label's website. ATP, quite worryingly, said nothing about it. He was also removed from End of the Road festival, by the way, but they actually said something. Jabberwocky's cinema schedule remained unannounced during all this time. Again, nothing. That is, of course, nothing until last night's announcement of Jabberwocky's cancellation due to cash-flow problems and inadequate ticket sales, just three days before it was supposed to go ahead. The warning signs were there, and they were ignored. Maybe we thought the best of ATP. Although, really, they couldn't have spelled it out any more, considering that the Lewis Carroll poem that gave the festival its name contains the line: "Beware the Jabberwock, my son!"

Okay, dumb jokes aside, people are understandably indignant about all this. Cancelling a festival at such short notice is a shitty thing to do to attendees and performers alike. People spent a lot of money on tickets, travel and accommodation to see musicians they love, and they probably won't get to see those bands or get most of their money back beyond a refund from ATP* (although, maybe they'll go to London and see of the many events planned involving ex-Jabberwocky bands instead). It's also unlikely that any of the artists, who had signed contracts, booked travel and accommodation and were looking forward to playing, will be paid in full for any of this (there may be cancellation fees, though). Some artists have found gigs to play in London this weekend, but others have had their schedules ruined; Clipping., for example, have had to cancel this weekend's arranged European dates in Brussels and Paris because of Jabberwocky. There are also questions about what's going to happen to the technical staff and those hired by the venue. About what's going to happen to Jabberwocky's PR firm The Zeitgeist Agency and ticketing company Dash Tickets, who are both pursuing legal action against ATP. About where this leaves Primavera Sound and Pitchfork, who have had their clean records stained by association. Nobody wins here. So the indignation is completely understandable.

But we still have to look beyond indignation. It's perfectly fine now, but in the long run it's not going to get us anywhere. Considering that legal proceedings against ATP have already begun, not even twenty-four hours after Jabberwocky's cancellation, it's clear that this is going to be a long, nasty fallout and the best thing we can do right now is talk about it and ask questions. Not shout about it. Not blithely mock ATP, who, while certainly not exempt from criticism, are just as upset about this as everybody else. No, we just need to understand what happened here and how we can prevent it from happening again. Because this isn't the first festival to go under this year; Camden Crawl and Alt-Fest suffered similar fates. Then there's the whole Secret Cinema debacle, which saw the postponement of an extravagant screening of Back to the Future two hours before it was scheduled to open its doors. It seems that something stinks in the live events market writ large, but I'm not going to pretend I know enough about that field to be insightful about it.

Still, one of the most pertinent questions right now is: how come tickets didn't sell out? They were reasonably priced. The line-up was saturated the sort of buzz bands that the internet adores. It was going to take place in London. But something clearly didn't stick. Of course, this is Cameron's Britain and we're all strapped for cash right now. But, beyond that, I think this has a lot to do with the venue. The ExCel Centre is not a known music space. Not only is it kind of a pain in the arse to get to, but nobody wants to see Nils Frahm in a sparsely populated, untested conference centre with a fucking science-fiction convention next door. That's not appealing. It may have been cheap, but, if you can barely hear what's going on, are you getting your money's worth? Personally, that's what put me off buying a ticket. I went to a similar ATP event a few years ago, the Portishead curated I'll Be Your Mirror at London's Alexandra Palace and the sound was very patchy. The artists higher up the bill, Portishead, Griderman and PJ Harvey sounded fine, but the sound got increasingly worse the further you went down the bill. Like you were being punished for getting there early. That's at a venue that hosts shows quite regularly, by the way. The ExCel was a strange, unproven choice, and, thinking about it, is totally indicative of ATP's problems. If everything was okay, I doubt they would have hosted the event there.

But I think there's an even larger issue at play here. ATP has said nothing beyond Barry Hogan's meagre statement released last night. It's a shame, but, really, it's a continuation of how they've behaved since the beginning. They have remained passive and obfuscatory throughout Jabberwocky's existence and it has been their ultimate undoing. I mean, if there were legitimate concerns about the festival a month ago, surely ATP knew that they had problems? And indeed, this was indirectly confirmed in Hogan's statement, because he writes that "over the past month and all the way up until this moment we have tried every possible course of action to follow through in delivering Jabberwocky to you." So, basically, they knew that they were fucked a while ago, yet they said nothing. Look, I'm not a cynic, I sincerely believe that ATP tried their hardest to put on a good show here. I believe that they wanted to save the festival and didn't want to upset people. But that does not excuse their complete lack of transparency in all this. It doesn't excuse that they were trying to flog tickets the day before they cancelled the event. It doesn't excuse that they only left three days before cancellation.

Obviously, ATP should have cancelled the event sooner. They should have been direct with their paying customers and taken control of the situation. They may have been trying to salvage the festival over the last month or so, but at what cost? This has utterly devastated ATP's already beleaguered reputation. If they wanted to put on a similar festival next year, who would want to play? Who would want to buy tickets? Who would trust them? Very few people, I assume. Maybe I'm being idealistic, but if ATP had been honest in July, had admitted that they were facing problems and were doing all they could to keep it going, people may have actually bought tickets. God knows the internet needs a slap in the face to actually get up and do something. And, you know, we appreciate sincerity. If they had outlined their problems, said 'we need to sell X amount of tickets to put on a good show for you' I doubt I'd be writing this article at 1am. People admire and respond to openness. It could be that their problems were too severe for that to be of any consequence, and that they'd never break even, but that's the problem: we don't know. Nobody knows apart from ATP, who are wilfully withholding that information. Of course, some of that is probably tied in their legal problems, but I doubt we know everything we could know at this point.

And, even in defeat, they lack transparency. The line in Hogan's statement that really gets me is that ATP is "being forced" into cancelling Jabberwocky, like it's not their fault; that "the position we unfortunately find ourselves in" meant that they couldn't put on the show rather than their own problems. It feels like a complete abdication of responsibility when, really, all we know right now is that ATP are the only party responsible. Compare this to the recent cancellation of Alt-Fest, which was also supposed to take place this weekend in Kettering. It was announced two weeks before the festival was due to start, and was accompanied by a lengthy and genuinely heartfelt explanation detailing exactly why. They map out a complex web of fuck ups from many parties involved in the event's organisation, including their own, and come across as apologetic and earnest. And that's what we want. Honesty. Not bragging that your fucked up festival has nearly sold out a week before you cancel it. The truth. Because if we don't know there's a problem, we can't do anything about it.

Due to the lack of information right now, there's definitely a lot more to come from this over the next weeks and months. Dirty laundry aired. Disgruntled people showing how disgruntled they are. Bridges burned. And what's most tragic about all this is that, like it or not, ATP is all the UK has in terms of festival organisers with the dumb the ambition to put on events like Jabberwocky. They may be fatally flawed, but organising and promoting shows is a hard business. It's expensive and stressful and tons of work, but like to think that ATP tries to make the best of that. Blind ambition is probably the root of Jabberwocky's woes, and it could be the end of ATP as a festival organiser in the UK. For real this time. Hogan's statement contains the line "if we had gone ahead; it would have 100% been the end of ATP," which seems kind of silly because not only are they financially fucked with impending lawsuits, but they have shown again that they cannot be trusted. This wasn't supposed to happen again. This was the new ATP. The post-liquidation, post-weekender ATP that we could rely on. But they've kind of tarnished that. Tarnished with the best intentions, but tarnished all the same. And, really, it would have been more appropriate if they carried on with Jabberwocky and went out in a blaze of glory. Because that would have at least been the honest thing to do.

*So, the refund thing. It's all a bit of a clusterfuck right now, with ATP and ticketing companies shifting the responsibility on each other. If you're having a problem getting a refund, you should be able to claim that money back via chargeback if you bought your tickets with a credit or debit card. More information about chargeback can be found here.