A BLEAK summer for music festivals has left a company founded by former Mean Fiddler boss Vince Power facing an uncertain future.
Music Festivals, which owns Kent’s Hop Farm Festival and Spain’s Benicassim Festival, suspended its shares after failing to raise fresh funds to support the business.
It represents a disastrous investment for those who took a punt on the firm when it floated in June last year with a valuation of around £20m.
The group recently warned it expects a full-year loss after weak ticket sales at the Hop Farm event and lower profits at Benicassim, which were both headlined by Bob Dylan.
The wettest summer in England and Wales for 100 years, the Olympics and the general malaise among consumers formed a toxic climate for music festivals this summer.
Festival Republic, the company behind this weekend’s Reading and Leeds festivals, was forced earlier this year to cancel the Big Chill in Herefordshire for the first time in its 18-year history.
Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, cited a lack of artist availability due to the event clashing with the Olympics as the main reason behind the decision. The absence of the Glastonbury Festival was also cited by some as being detrimental to the wider industry as there is more publicity around festivals in general when the popular Somerset event is on.
The Hop Farm Music Festival was launched in 2008, initially as a one-day event which has since expanded into a three-day event, with capacity for up to 53,000 people per day.
Dylan was joined by Suede and Peter Gabriel as headliners.
Benicassim was launched in 1995 by venue operators Miguel and Jose Moran and magazine editors Luis Calvo and Joako Ezpeleta.
Mr Power became involved with the festival in 2005.
Music Festivals also owns the Feis Irish festival in Finsbury Park, which has featured Van Morrison and Dylan, and the Spanish rock festival Costa de Fuego.
Power set up Mean Fiddler in 1982, which ran some of the most popular summer festivals and venues in London, and sold his stake in the company to US media giant Clear Channel for £13m in 2005.
Born in County Waterford in Ireland, he moved to London aged 16 and opened the first Mean Fiddler venue in Harlesden, north west London, in 1982.