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Music Festivals plc admit ticket sales still low

By | Published on Monday 9 July 2012

Vince Power

After reports of very low audience sizes at the recent Hop Farm Festival, it’s emerged that Vince Power’s Music Festivals plc, which stages the event, last week issued a statement to shareholders admitting ticket sales for both Hop Farm and the company’s other flagship event, Spain’s Benicassim, were lower than expected, and that this was affecting the company’s revenues. The same shareholder statement, dated 3 Jul, also revealed that Power had made an unsecured loan of £750,000 to provide more working capital for the company.

Music Festivals plc had previously warned investors that ticket sales this year were lower than anticipated back in May. Confirming the situation hadn’t improved, last week’s shareholder statement said: “The already highly competitive festival market has also been significantly impacted by continued weak economies in the UK and Spain (where the Group generates a significant amount of its income), current unavailability of strong revenue generating acts and adverse UK weather resulting in negative media commentary on recent festivals”.

Although Music Festivals plc resisted the temptation to roll out the standard excuse for disappointing ticket sales in the 2012 festival season – the big bad Olympics – Power did recently criticise the BBC for moving Radio 1’s annual free-entry music event, the Big Weekend, into London to pre-empt this summer’s big celebration of sporting achievement and offensive corporate sponsorship.

Power, and others, have argued that by staging the Hackney Weekend, the Corporation had entered a crowded market place, where the UK live music sector already offers a plethora of youth-orientated events, and then exploited its media platforms and unique funding structure to unfairly compete with commercial players.