Desmond And Reynolds
Fight Over Picnic

The legal fight over Ireland’s Electric Picnic may be out of the courts for a while, but the battle to control one of the country’s major festivals is apparently smoldering on backstage.

In Ireland’s High Court April 8, Mr. Justice Peter Kelly adjourned Electric Picnic founder John Reynolds’ legal action against majority shareholder Festival Republic to give both sides the chance to settle their differences.

A week earlier, the Irish Sunday Times reported that an Electric Picnic board meeting had been a frosty affair.

Reynolds’ action, which was brought under Section 205 of the Companies Act, claims Festival Republic is trying to push him aside.

He told the court that The Killers were chosen as a 2012 headliner against his wishes, claiming Festival Republic – a joint venture between Desmond and Live Nation – also needed the act for its Berlin Festival a week later.

At some point, most of the country’s daily papers have speculated on whether the boardroom rows would derail this year’s festival.

“The festival is on sale and selling well – cracking lineup,” Desmond told Pollstar, confirming the event would go ahead and preempting any complaints Reynolds may have over this year’s bill.

What’s going on behind the scenes will likely determine Electric Picnic’s future ownership.

Although Desmond says the current dispute is “nothing personal,” in 2009 Reynolds was shy about admitting he’d sold some of his own shares to FR when it bought a 71 percent stake in EP Festivals Ltd. for euro 4.2 million in 2009.

Buying Reynolds’ remaining 29 percent – at the same rate – would cost FR something in the region of euro 1.8 million, although the price might be another sticking point.

The matter is likely to return to Ireland’s Commercial Court in the summer.

The lineup at this year’s Electric Picnic (Aug. 31 to Sept. 2) has Fatboy Slim, Bjork, Arctic Monkeys, My Bloody Valentine, Wu Tang Clan, and Franz Ferdinand.