Benn Turns Hove Around

UK-based promoter Melvin Benn looks to be have done well after buying Norway’s Hove Festival brand from the official receiver, as the second edition he’s run was a 15,000-capacity sellout.

Toffen Gunnufsen, who has been involved with the event since it started in Arendal in 2007, says it was “the best Hove ever” and believes the Festival Republic chief’s stewardship will mean it can avoid mistakes.

Many in the Norwegian live music business were mystified at how Hove could have pulled 11,000 per day in 2007 and nearly 13,000 per day in 2008 and still go bust with debts of 15 million Norwegian kroner (then $ 2.2 million) before the end of that year. It was the country’s biggest festival at the time.

Leading Norwegian business paper Finansavisen reported Sweden’s SEB Enskilda bank was chasing Morten Sandberg, Hove’s financial backer, for personal debts of 11 million kroner ($ 1.6 million). Sandberg said he’d taken bad advice on some stock investments and he would have to live with the consequences.

When Festival Republic, which is co-owned by Live Nation and Irish promoter Denis Desmond, took over the event in the spring of 2009, Benn told national financial paper Dagens Næringsliv he intended to bring some stability to the festival.

The acts helping Hove get its feet back on the ground June 29 to July 2 included Muse, Pendulum, Massive Attack, Empire Of The Sun, Ellie Goulding and Dizzee Rascal.