Power’s Back At The Wheel

Having sold out his 30-plus percent stake in Mean Fiddler and announced that it was “time to cash in my roulette chips,” it’s only taken Vince Power six months to come back to the table to gamble more money on the rock ‘n’ roll business wheel.

The move hardly comes as a surprise as he’d promised he’d return.

“The thought of retiring horrifies me,” he told The Independent in April.

As if the £12.9 million (US$23 million) he got from Hamsard 2786 Limited (which is Clear Channel U.K. and Irish promoter Denis Desmond’s Gaiety Investments) is burning a hole in his pocket, Caterer and Hotelkeeper is reporting that Power already has three London-based projects underway.

According to the trade mag, which covers the hospitality industries, Power has acquired Spiga, an Italian restaurant in London’s Soho and is planning to open an upmarket nightclub called Camouflage in the basement.

He’s also looking to reinvent Ladbroke Grove’s Ion Bar, once part of the Mean Fiddler empire, as a lounge bar called 10 West.

The third and biggest scheme is reported to be a restaurant and live music venue on Piccadilly called Pigalle, which will have a capacity of 350 and a 4 a.m. licence. Pigalle is said to be designed to recreate the atmosphere of the clubs of the 1940s and ’50s.

Picking up on the Caterer and Hotelkeeper piece, The Times reported that the three projects are the start of a bid to use his fortune to launch a new bar and club empire, which could see new Power bases spring up in such places as Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and Valencia.

Trading under the name of Vince Power Music Group, the new business is reportedly aimed at the European mainland’s festival market.

Although bars and European festivals have, to a certain degree, figured in Mean Fiddler’s business portfolio in the past, neither was among the company’s more notable triumphs.

Much of its bar business was hived off because, in Power’s words, “the city isn’t keen on businesses based on bars,” although it was done at a time when the company needed the cash to refocus on its core live music trade.

As for European festivals, the Fiddler’s efforts to get a part of the action in Germany (with Bizarre) and Spain (Doctor Music) didn’t get off the ground.

According to The Times‘ article, which was headed “Live Music Mogul Plans New Empire,” Power’s now looking at the possibility of running music festivals in Eastern Europe.

Whatever route the Vince Power Music Group takes, it looks likely the former Mean Fiddler chairman – who once described himself to Pollstar as being “a bit like someone who hires a babysitter and then stays in to see what sort of job they make of it” – will have a hands-on role.

— John Gammon