When The Pod Went Pop

The upcoming Electric Picnic may be the second outdoor the U.K.’s Festival Republic has saved from extinction, following the demise of former owner Pod Concerts.

John Reynolds, who owns the company, put it into liquidation a couple of weeks before a July 13 Dublin High Court hearing to have it wound up.

The winding-up petition came from the Revenue Commissioners, who had turned down Pod’s request to pay an outstanding VAT bill of euro 750,000 ($1.01 million) in 16 monthly installments.

This year, Electric Picnic (Sept. 4-6), a festival historically co-owned by Pod and Aiken Promotions, isn’t in any danger because Festival Republic bought out most of their shares before the revenue authorities closed in on Reynolds’ company. Festival Republic is co-owned by Live Nation and rival Irish promoter Denis Desmond.

The initial announcement of the deal was confusing as it said Festival Republic had acquired its stake from Aiken, although that alone would not have been enough to give it a controlling interest.

He’s believed to have owned between 20 percent and 30 percent and Festival Republic is believed to have purchased all of that and at least half of the remaining shares belonging to Reynolds, which would give it close to two-thirds of the stock.

Neither Desmond nor Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn would comment on whether the statement to announce the deal was phrased to shield the news that half of Reynolds’ share was sold to a major rival.

At the time, a more pressing problem for Reynolds was a High Court action brought by IMRO, the Irish performers’ rights society, which was seeking euro 432,741 for a PRS bill covering previous Picnics. It hasn’t been possible to get comment from Reynolds.

Earlier this year Festival Republic bought Norway’s Hove Festival’s name from the official receiver after the event went bankrupt owing an estimated NKR 18 million (US$2.81 million). Hove had become one of the country’s biggest within two years.

This year’s Electric Picnic lineup includes Orbital, Flaming Lips, Basement Jaxx, Madness, Fleet Foxes, MGMT, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Klaxons.