Vince Power, the promoter of Hop Farm Festival, Benicassim and the newly set up Costa Del Fuego festival, has hit out at the BBC for organising this weekend’s Radio 1 Hackney Weekend.
Speaking to the Independent, Power said that the BBC should not be funding events like this “in a special time of austerity” and added that he was sure that “taxpayers don’t want to see their money spent on festivals”.
The organiser also said that the event had “really pissed him off” and made it very hard for other festivals to compete when the BBC were giving tickets away for free.
Asked what he thought of this weekend’s event, he replied: “In a special time of austerity, I’m sure that taxpayers don’t want to see their money spent on festivals. If the BBC is giving something out for free, then we can’t compete. It’s really pissed me off. A lot of people aren’t willing to put their head above the parapet, to say that this isn’t fair. It isn’t right.”
Radio 1 boss Ben Cooper has since defended the event, telling the Evening Standard: “We’re going into an area that I don’t think any commercial operator would have gone into after the unrest of last year. That is the job of the BBC. I don’t think we are taking ticket sales from competing festivals because people aren’t being charged.”
He continued: “We feel this is a special year, an Olympic year, so we wanted to get the best artists in the world, as well as British artists. I think, why can’t young people have their culture of popular music celebrated in a way that is of scale? Why can’t young people in this Olympic year have an event that they can attend and they can enjoy and feel is for them?”
Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend takes place on Saturday (June 23) and Sunday (June 24) and will be headlined by Rihanna and Jay-Z, with Florence And The Machine, Jack White, Lana Del Rey, Nicki Minaj and Plan B among the other artists on the bill.