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Indie festivals warn of corporate domination

UNITED KINGDOM               -
World News
November 26, 2019

GLOBAL PROMOTING giants Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) and AEG Presents together control almost 30 per cent of the UK’s festival market, according to the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF).

The organisation’s festival ownership map for 2019 reveals that LNE, which owns festivals including Download (cap. 110,000), Creamfields (60,000) and Wireless (45,000), and owns Ticketmaster, controls or owns 22.81 per cent of the sector, says the AIF report.

LNE also effectively owns 51 per cent of Festival Republic, which runs events such as the Reading (90,000), Leeds (80,000) and Latitude (35,000) festivals.

AEG Presents, which promotes London’s Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time (65,000) and All Points East (40,000), controls or owns 6.22 per cent of the market. It also owns ticketing company AXS.

New entry on the chart, James Barton’s Providence Equity-backed Superstruct is the second largest operator with 6.52 per cent of the market, after taking majority ownership of events formerly owned by radio station giant Global, including Victorious (90,000), Boardmasters (50,000), Tramlines (30,000) and Truck Festival (18,000).

“Despite some significant shifts in the market over the past year, the dominance of Live Nation remains hugely concerning,” says AIF CEO Paul Reed.

“AIF is a growing community now representing almost 20 per cent of festivals over 5,000-capacity in the UK, and the independent sector is in a strong place despite the encroaching and unrelenting dominance of the major companies and the restrictions that can arise from this.

“However, we repeat our warning: Allowing a single company to dominate festivals, and the live music sector in general through vertical integration, results in a stranglehold that stifles competition throughout the sector,” says Reed.

AIF’s report is based on a survey of 210 festivals, with an overall combined capacity of more than 4,370,000.

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