Live Nation takes majority stake in Isle Of Wight Festival
By Andy Malt | Published on Monday 20 March 2017
Still on its never-ending acquisition spree, Live Nation UK has become the majority shareholder in the Isle Of Wight Festival, via its LN-Gaiety company. The event will continue to be run by John Giddings and his Solo company.
The announcement comes after the future of the festival was called into question last year. As previously reported, Solo requested that Isle Of Wight Council waive the hire fee for the site on which the event takes place. The council said it was open to dropping the fee to £13,000 if the festival took on other logistical services currently provided by the council, which cost it around £42,000 per year.
Solo subsequently withdrew its request, following “incorrect media inferences” that the festival was struggling to sell tickets. At that point, tickets for the 2017 event had not yet gone on sale and – with costs still presumably needing to be cut – for a brief time it was unclear if there would be an IOW Festival this year. But shortly afterwards it was confirmed it would indeed go ahead in June.
Originally staged between 1968 and 1970, the festival was revived in 2002 with Giddings at the helm. The current agreement between Solo and the council runs until 2019. With Live Nation’s investment, the event presumably now has some financial security in the long term, although it gives up its independent status in return.
“John Giddings and the Solo team have developed the Isle Of Wight Festival to be one of the most iconic festival brands in the world”, says Live Nation UK chair Denis Desmond. “It’s fantastic to be able to add it to our growing and diverse portfolio of festivals”.
Giddings adds: “After fifteen hugely successful and glorious years, we have been looking at how we can elevate and take the Isle Of Wight Festival to the next level. This partnership with Live Nation will give us the ability to access the company’s scale and talent pool, bringing more acts and a better experience to the UK”.
Headliners for this year’s festival will be David Guetta, Run DMC, Arcade Fire and Rod Stewart. Which I guess you could say is something for everyone.