Reading Has Future In Its Sites

The owners of Reading Festival have gone a long way toward securing the event’s future by buying another 65 acres of the Rivermead site.

Almost 200 acres of the land being used for one of the U.K.’s top summer outdoors is now owned by Festival Republic, a daughter of Live Nation and Denis Desmond’s co-owned LN-Gaiety Holdings Ltd.

It bought about 130 acres of it in a separate deal, at the same time it bought Mean Fiddler Music Group and the twinned Carling Weekend festivals.

The local borough council owns most of the remaining surrounding land.

Agents acting for owners Caledonian Investments had hoped to get planning permission for the 91-acre strip but it was turned down, leaving LN-Gaiety to pick it up as arable for an undisclosed sum believed to be less than £5 million.

This year Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn led an operation to clear the site after it had been left underwater by the July floods.

The Environment Agency agreed to lower the level of the River Thames by between seven and eight inches for about three miles alongside the venue, thereby reducing the risk of it re-flooding.

"This is a very important piece of land to the Reading Festival and acquiring it was essential for the continuation of the festival in Reading," Benn explained.