Winterclash 2016: February 19-20. Area 51, Eindhoven.
The truth about Winterclash today. I was hoping never having to do this, but here we go, let’s get naked.
As some of you might know, I’m the organizer of Winterclash, the world’s largest Inline / Rollerblading core scene event with visitors from 35 different countries.
It all started back in 2009 when the Skatepark in Belgium burned down and we had to move Winterclash to Holland in only one day. I lost a few thousand Euros, but in the end everything went ok and at least the event did happen. In 2010 I wanted to put all on one card and had the idea to put blading back on the map of the public eye. We organized Winterclash in Berlin, in a huge event arena. We had to rent a mobile skatepark, build and installed everything from scratch, hosted an insanely expensive Aftershow party and most importantly: we invested a huge amount of money into marketing, radio, TV, posters all over the city, that kind of things. We wanted the non-blading public to join our event and experience blading at it’s best. We wanted to push and help the sport grow.
I knew from the beginning that it would be hard to pay all of this, but I didn’t expect the outcome to be that terrible. Only a very few non-blading visitors joined the event, we had unexpected additional cost and bouncing sponsors. In the end we made way too little money with entry fees and sponsoring. After the event I was in private debts of 70.000 € . I’ve had believed in something and got hit hard by reality.
The situation hit me so hard that I did not know what to do, where to go and how to react. And that made everything much worse. Because of me not being able to deal with it, some of the companies I owe money to went to court and all that created even more debts. In the end I had to face a total amount of around 100.000 € . Maybe I should have gone into private-bankruptcy, but instead I decided I want to pay back every penny -because it was my fault in the end.
In the last 5 years I was able to pay back almost 70.000 € and today I’m still facing 34.000 € of private debts. I managed to pay back almost all companies we worked with in 2010. Sound and light, materials, catering, advertising and so on… What’s left now is the money I owe to Arena Berlin (the event location) , my bank and a lot of money to good friends who helped me survive along the way. Aaaaand TAXES.
After my collapse in 2010 it took me a few years to get back on track and get all papers, all payments and the whole structure back in order. My bank account got frozen numerous times, I had to deal with court and I even received an arrest warrant and wasn’t allowed to leave the country. After dealing with all that, last thing missing now, to get everything back under control, was the tax issue. And at the same day that I handed in my last papers, everything collapsed again.
This Monday the tax office cleared my bank account and took all the money on it. A lot of the Winterclash money and my private money. Don’t worry, we will still be able to organize Winterclash 2016 the same way as you know it – somehow… It will be most difficult and after the event I´m still facing at least 34.000 € Winterclash debts AND 20.000 € tax debts (caused by past years Winterclash profits etc…) This tax debts will force me to go into private bankruptcy and this means I will not be able to host another Winterclash.
In the past years I took most of the money that Winterclash made and put it into the debts, but with the TAX receiving all the money I will not be able to do another Winterclash after that. The event takes 3-4 month of my year (at least) and at some point I need to be able to focus on myself, make a normal living and be free again. I spent the last 20 years organizing events, running magazines, MCing events and basically put every minute of my time life into blading. I believed in it, I wanted to help blading and I had the time of my life doing so. But now I´m at a point where I can’t stand the pressure anymore, I’m physically and mentally at a point where I can’t stand it anymore. Here I am, 30 years old, bankrupt, 5 years after it all happened, I’m refusing to give up but I need your help!
If we want to continue with Winterclash in the next years, we need to raise that fundes. Let’s make it appen! Everything helps and everything is much much appreciated. Thanks for going through this with me, with the Winterclash! Johannes Jacobi.
Ps: Click the link to see a calculation of income and expenses of Winterclash.
Pps: To make it clear: Winterclash 2016 WILL TAKE PLACE and is not affected by this.