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One Million Pounds Burnt on Jura

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Ardfin Boathouse 2009, 2009
Ardfin Boathouse 2009
© Andrew Curtis

One million pounds were burnt in a fire in a remote boathouse on the Isle of Jura, in the Inner Hebrides, on 23 August 1994.

The event took place in the early hours of the morning, when Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty were filmed methodically burning £1 million in cash. This was said to be the bulk of the money they earned from record sales.[1]

The pair were behind music act The KLF which, in 1991, was the biggest selling singles act in the world.

Their extreme action has provoked intense debate ever since, but never really been explained in any reasonable manner.

Newspaper reports from the time could scarcely believe anyone would do such a thing, yet footage exists of the duo carefully placing handfuls of £50 notes into a fire, and can be seen in the following clip from The Late Late Show:

K foundation burn a million quid

Ardfin Boathouse 2016, 2016
Ardfin Boathouse 2016
© David Hoult

They then vowed to put their careers on hold for 23 years.

That hold period came to end in August 2017.

At 23 seconds past midnight on Wednesday 23 August 2017 they made their comeback at a book launch in Liverpool where the duo of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty met some 500 fans at the 'News From Nowhere' book shop, arriving in an ice cream van that played their former hits What Time Is Love? and O Sole Mio.

The event marked the start of a three-day festival of talks, performance, and live art, which will included a debate on the topic "Why Did the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid?"

Fans were told that the pair will not be performing any music.[2]

Why did the KLF burn £1 million

In September 2017, The Scotsman newspaper tried to get a little closer this to running an article originally published elsewhere, which concluded with:

Then, as 72 hours of processions, pyres and performances reached their finale, black and white posters began to appear around Liverpool in characteristic KLF font.

Shape shifting and unpredictable, impishly irrational and ultimately unreasonable, it seemed that Drummond and Cauty decided to have the last word – and the last laugh – on the reasons behind the money burning episode after all.

The posters read:


- Are we any closer to knowing why the KLF burnt £1 million?[3]


1 Why did the KLF burn £1 million in cash on Scots island of Jura? - The Scotsman Retrieved January 21, 2017.

2 The KLF: Pop's saboteurs return after 23 years - BBC News Retrieved August 25, 2017.

3 Are we any closer to knowing why the KLF burnt £1 million? - The Scotsman Retrieved September 04, 2017.

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