Benicassim and Hop Farm festival organisers call in administrators

Vince Power's Music Festivals company throws in towel

The company behind Benicassim and Hop Farm festivals is preparing to go into administration.

Shares in Vince Power’s ailing Music Festivals company were worth 66.5p last June, valuing the company at £10m, but they were suspended at just 2.12p on Friday (September 21), making the company worth just £310,000, The Guardian reports.

The company’s prospects looked shaky at the beginning of the summer, when it told investors that ticket sales for Spanish bash Benicassim and Kent’s Hop Farm looked disappointing. Both events proved to be loss-making despite big-name headliners such as Bob Dylan.

In August, the company told investors that it expected to make losses for the year and admitted that it was looking for a financial lifeline. Last week, after the search had proved fruitless, it moved for its shares to be suspended.

“The board has in recent weeks pursued a number of different funding proposals but the company has not been able to procure the necessary funding it requires,” it said in a statement.

Power owns 23 per cent of the company and, along with relatives, the family stake adds up to more than 40 per cent. Power had also propped up the company with a £750,000 unsecured loan in July. Industry experts have cited the wet summer and an increasingly crowded festival market – there are now thought to be over 700 festivals taking place each year – as well as the Olympics for the company’s woes.

Power opened his first venue, Mean Fiddler, in north-west London in 1982. He opened many more venues and events, including London’s Forum and Reading festival, turning Mean Fiddler into the largest promoter in Europe. In 2002, he took operational control of Glastonbury for a three-year stint. He sold Mean Fiddler in 2005 for £38 million.