Yesterday Alex Trenchard, founder of the 4,000-capacity Hertfordshire festival which last year featured Liars, These New Puritans, Telepathe and Beuna Vista Social Club, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft, after his employer, Tesco, found £355,000 of outstanding debts relating to the not-for-profit festival were charged to his company credit card. The debts have been paid by Alex’s family – his father, Hugh is the 3rd Viscount Trenchard.
32-year-old father of two Alex started working at Tesco in 2001, from Schroder Ventures Investment Trust, which he joined upon graduating from St. Hugh’s College, Oxford. Standon Calling was started by Alex in his back garden for a birthday party ten years ago, and last year broke even.
According to the Herts and Essex Observer, his lawyer Patrick Gibbs said that the two words people chose to describe Alex were “kind and obsessed,” something Judge Tryer echoed in his closing remarks: “I accept this became an obsession, rather like gambling, but the fact is it went on for a significant amount of time.”
The festival were keen to stress, though, that Alex’s legal problems will not affect this year’s festival nor future plans for the festival. Tickets are currently on sale for the 11-14th of August dates, with a lineup announcement due next week. Festival director Graham MacVoy issued a statement saying that “I know that Alex very much regrets his actions and feels great remorse for the distress he has caused. But the festival is about more than just one person. The team have been preparing for this year’s festival and Alex’s absence for a number of months. Standon Calling 2010 was a resounding success and we are building on that.”