Reynolds Lays In To Festival Republic

Music promoter John Reynolds really laid into Festival Republic at Dublin’s Commercial Court July 30, claiming the directors of Electric Picnic Festival’s majority shareholder diverted euro 500,000 ($662,000) to its own ends.

Reynolds also alleged payments due to festival operating company EP Republic Ltd. were being claimed by members of Festival Republic Dublin Ltd. (FRD) in breach of a shareholders’ agreement. He said the payments, which he claims to have discovered in 2012, three years after they were made, were “entirely unexplained.”

He told the court that one of the payments was from Ticketmaster and related to Electric Picnic ticket sales. Reynolds also accused Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn of making decisions on the 2012 and 2013 events that benefited his company more than it did the festival. Benn said Reynolds’ account of the diversion of funds was “false and misleading.”

He said there was an agreement between Ticketmaster and EP Republic Ltd involving a one-euro booking fee for every Electric Picnic ticket sold through Ticketmaster being paid to EP Festivals Ltd.

He said FRD had not, and was not, facilitating the diverting of funds to other members of the FRD group which properly belonged to EP Festivals Ltd. In 2009 Festival Republic, co-owned by Live Nation and Irish promoter Denis Desmond, bought a 71 percent stake in EP Festivals Ltd., a subsidiary of Reynolds’ POD Music, for euro 4.2 million.

Reynolds’ action, which was brought under Section 205 of the Companies Act, claims Festival Republic is trying to push him aside in order to add Electric Picnic to its stable of festivals and outdoor events. The counterclaim from Festival Republic is that Reynolds is behaving in a “deliberately obstructive” way because he wants to sell his remaining shares in Electric Picnic for “grossly inflated prices.”

While noting one attempt at mediation had failed, Mr. Justice Peter Kelly again urged both parties to try to resolve their differences in advance of a full court hearing.