Business News Gigs & Festivals Live Business Top Stories

Music Festivals plc moves Leonard Cohen shows to Wembley Arena, as share price plummets

By | Published on Friday 24 August 2012

Music Festivals plc

Leonard Cohen’s two planned shows at the Hop Farm in Kent next month have been cancelled and replaced with performances at Wembley Arena on the same dates, it has been announced.

While the worldwide tour in support of Cohen’s ‘Old Ideas’ album is promoted by AEG Live, the UK shows are being organised by Vince Power’s Music Festivals plc company, which also runs the Hop Farm festival. Wet weather this summer is officially being blamed for the decision to switch to an indoor venue for the Cohen shows.

A statement from Music Festivals plc about the venue change reads: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, Leonard Cohen’s two shows at Hop Farm, Kent on 8 and 9 Sep will no longer be taking place at that venue. However, Cohen will now be performing at a new London venue on the same dates. Cohen will still bring his much anticipated ‘Old Ideas’ world tour to the UK with the scheduled shows now taking place in the fully seated and historic Wembley Arena on 8 and 9 Sep”.

Power added: “I can confirm the venue for the two Leonard Cohen performances has been moved to Wembley Arena. The concerts will be jointly promoted by AEG Live and Music Festivals plc. The decision to change the venue has nothing to do with the suitability of Hop Farm as a venue. Wembley Arena is a world class venue and being an indoor arena offers protection from the unseasonal cold and wet weather this summer”.

Announced yesterday, ticketholders were offered refunds or the opportunity to exchange their tickets for the new shows, as well as an exclusive pre-sale for the best seats in the house (though as the change was only announced yesterday and tickets went on general release this morning, that didn’t leave much notice to take up that option).

Tickets for the new shows range from £65 to £95 (depending on which site you choose to book them through), the same as those for the original Hop Farm performances. Each set will apparently last three hours, justifying the high cost of entry.

As previously reported, this year’s Hop Farm Festival made a loss after disappointing ticket sales. Power’s company’s other key festival, Benicassim in Spain, turned a profit, but a lower one than in 2011. As a result, the company told shareholders earlier this month that “financial results for the year ending 31 Dec 2012 would be significantly lower than market expectations” and that it expects to report “a material loss” for that twelve month period. It also emerged in July that Power had made an unsecured loan of £750,000 to the company in order to provide more working capital.

Power floated his latest festivals company on the Alternative Investment Market in June 2011 to create Music Festivals plc. The flotation raised £6.5 million, but shares slipped from 65p each when trading first opened to less than 30p a year later. They currently stand at 3.5p, just above the company’s lowest share price to date of 3p, which it hit on 9 Aug.

Despite the poor sales for this year’s Hop Farm Festival, it’s hoped that 2013 will see a turnaround for the company. Early bird tickets for both the Hop Farm Festival and Benicassim’s 2013 are already on sale.