Reynolds In Legal Fight Over Picnic
Four years after being bailed out by Festival Republic, Electric Picnic promoter John Reynolds is claiming the company who saved the event is trying to push him aside.
Although this year’s festival is scheduled Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, the ongoing row legal row between its shareholders and promoters may derail the Stradbally event.
Reynolds, who’s suing Festival Republic Dublin under Section 205 of the Companies Acts, told Ireland’s High Court April 8 that the company is excluding him from the management of the festival and effectively removing him from “any meaningful role” in the decision process when it comes to booking the acts.
He claims he wasn’t consulted over the booking of The Killers as a co-headliner in 2012, and that poor band selection was the reason the event lost euro 2.1 million ($2.76 million) over the last two years.
He says the U.S. act was only added to the lineup because Festival Republic needed the band for its Berlin Festival a week later.
Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn told the court that Electric Picnic’s losses were down to the ticket price being too expensive.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly agreed to Reynolds’ request to transfer the case to the Commercial Court for a fast-track settlement but, with the consent of both sides, adjourned it for further directions and to allow for mediation.
Festival Republic FRD bought a 71 percent stake in EP Festivals Ltd for euro 4.2million ($5.5m) in 2009.
At the time it was said the shares were acquired from Irish promoter Peter Aitken, downplaying the fact Reynolds had indirectly sold some of own his shares to a company headed by archrival Denis Desmond, who owns Festival Republic in a joint venture with Live Nation.
Aiken was believed to have owned between 20 percent and 30 percent, which alone wouldn’t have been enough to give FR a controlling interest.
At the time of the sale, Reynolds – who owns Pod Concerts – faced creditors and a High Court action over a euro 432,741 (then $643,247) PRS bill for previous Picnics.
IMRO, the Irish performers’ rights society, started court proceedings for the outstanding money and warned that Electric Picnic may struggle to get future licenses if the cash wasn’t forthcoming.