Music Festival Firm Pulls Plug Over Tickets
The "over-saturated" market for music festivals has taken a hit as one of its most famous entrepreneurs seeks an administrator following suspension of his firm's shares.
Vince Power's Music Festivals group, responsible for the Hop Farm Festival, said an administrator was sought after shares were suspended last Friday.
A source told Sky News the administrator is not expected to be appointed within the next 24 hours.
In early August the company behind the Kent event, and the popular Spanish Benicassim festival, issued a warning following poor ticket sales.
The Kent rock festival, founded in 2008, has seen headline acts including Bob Dylan, Prince, Neil Young and the Eagles.
Its unique selling point has been a family-oriented event "with an ethos of no sponsorship, no branding and no VIP tickets".
This year it was also marred after veteran Canadian performer Leonard Cohen's performances were pulled at short notice.
In a statement to shareholders the company had earlier said: "The group was particularly impacted by weaker than expected ticket sales at the Hop Farm Music Festival which was loss-making.
"The Benicassim festival continued to be profitable but at a much lower level than 2011.
"As a result, the group currently expects to report a material loss for the year ending December 31 and is exploring ways of raising additional working capital."
The company's shares at the time of suspension on Friday traded at only 2p - down from a launch in July last year of 66.5p - giving a market capitalisation of less than £400,000.
Mr Power, described by The Guardian as the self-styled king of gigs, owned 23% of the firm and with other family members the total was raised to 40%.
He sold his Mean Fiddler promotion firm in 2005 for £38m, and reportedly lost almost £8m when his venue firm later folded.
Mr Power was the entrepreneur behind the famous Fleadh festivals during the 1990s.
Observers said the wet summer, the Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee and the recession were factors behind the sector's ongoing woes.
But others have cited over-saturation amid massive sector growth in the past decade.
The profitability has been hit by the increasing number of free events - as some paid-for festivals ticket prices climbed into triple digits.