THE MAIN beneficiaries from radio giant Global’s decision to pull-out of the festival sector (see Audience issue 231) are its former partner Broadwick Live and Los Angeles-based Superstruct Entertainment, which is led by CEO James Barton and backed by Providence Equity Partners Superstruct takes control of Victorious Festival (cap. 100,000), South West Four (20,000), Kendal Calling (25,000), Truck (10,000), Tramlines (40,000) and Boardmasters (50,000), plus Croatian festival Hideout (15,000).
The company already has interests in Hungary’s Sziget (95,000), Flow (10,000) in Finland and Oya (15,000) in Norway. This is Barton’s first foray into UK festivals since he sold Creamfields (70,000) festival, which he founded, to Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) in 2012.
Broadwick Live, headed by Gareth Cooper, founded Festival No 6 (14,000) and Austria’s Snowbombing (6,000), before its acquisition by Global four years ago, since when, with Global’s backing, it acquired Standon Calling (17,000) and Field Day (32,000).
Cooper tells Audience it is too early to provide more details on how his new-look business will be structured but promises more information within weeks.
Global says in a statement, “We’re very proud of the portfolio of festivals we’ve put together, however it’s not our core sector and we will now be focussing on our radio and outdoor businesses.”
The largest commercial radio group in Europe, Global also has substantial outdoor billboard advertising interests. It scrapped its touring arm in 2017 after key executives moved to LNE. It spent more than £75 million ($93m acquiring festival assets in that year alone.
Its decision to exit the live music sector is reminiscent of US radio station and billboards giant Clear Channel Communications’ acquisition of SFX Entertainment for $4.4 billion in 2000. Unable to find sufficient synergy between live entertainment and radio, it spun-off the division as Live Nation five years later with debts of around $750m.