Bookers Leave Festival Republic

Two of Festival Republic’s top talent bookers have left the company and it’s likely at least three weeks before company chief Melvin Benn can get his team back to full strength.

Latitude Festival booker John Dunn has left to join Barry Hogan’s ATP, which recently liquidated its promoting company and transferred all its assets to a new company called Willwal Limited. 

The company promotes the All Tomorrow’s Parties festivals and Dunn is expected to be working as a touring promoter while ATP founder Hogan continues to book the events.
Neil Pengelly, who has booked the main stages for Reading and Leeds festivals for nearly 20 years, left a few days after Dunn. The news of their respective departures became public Oct. 5 and Oct. 10.
Best known for promoting FR’s 35,000-capacity Latitude Festival for the last seven years, Dunn originally established his credentials as a club promoter in Chelmsford, Essex. 
He joined Live Nation’s promoting team in London in 2004 and a year later moved on to FR, a joint venture between LN and Irish entrepreneur Denis Desmond.
Benn has already pulled in Natasha Haddad, previously a programmer for MAMA Group, to replace him, although there’s been no indication of who will replace Pengelly.
Benn says the new Reading and Leeds promoter will be named Oct. 18, with a view to taking up the post Nov. 9.
Pengelly, who has been with the festivals since they were part of the old Mean Fiddler Group, will be staying on in an advisory role until March to facilitate the handover to his replacement.
At press time it wasn’t possible to contact him regarding his reasons for moving or his future plans.
Haddad, who takes up her new role Oct. 31, has worked across a variety of festivals including Wilderness, Lovebox and The Great Escape.