RockNess Endures Loss

The U.K.’s RockNess Festival appears to have endured a significant loss, although event organiser Joe Gibb said he doesn’t know exactly how much.

He told local paper The Inverness Courier that the deficit was not a major concern because the company recently sold a 51 percent share to AEG Live’s London operation.

The RockNess company’s deficit was revealed as the Dores Community Development Trust received its annual payout. One pound from every ticket sold goes toward the host village, which this year received £27,088.

“I’m not trying to be obtrusive but I don’t know what the figure is exactly,” Gibb told the Courier. It hasn’t been possible to get a figure out of AEG Live Europe chief Rob Hallett.

It was announced in June that AEG Live purchased a controlling stake in the Scottish dance and alternative music event, but it’s never been disclosed how much it paid.

This year’s festival, its third edition, was to some extent overshadowed by the death of an 18-year-old fan who was found unconscious in front of the main stage June 7.

Acts on the June 7-8 bill included Fatboy Slim, The View, Razorlight and Underworld, backed by more than 40 acts and DJs. Gibb told the Scottish daily that one of the reasons for the shortfall was because the event invested in the future by booking top acts.

Gibb said this will give the festival more clout and credibility and make it easier to attract bigger performers in the future.
Acts already announced for 2009 include Dizzee Rascal, Biffy Clyro and Basement Jaxx.

“We want to widen the appeal of the festival which has mostly been dance music by booking rock and pop acts,” Gibb told the paper. “The point of AEG coming on board is to give us leverage in terms of the business and we are very excited about the plans for 2009. The feedback from the vast majority of the Dores community has been positive.”

At the time the announcement was made, AEG described the RockNess deal as a “natural extension” toward the company playing an “increasingly key role in Britain’s increasingly busy festival market.”

Next year’s Rockness will be extended to three days.

Dores Community Development Trust has received a total of £81,488 from RockNess since the festival started in 2006. The money is spent on community projects.