Electric Picnic Dispute Heads To Trial

It seems Irish promoters Denis Desmond and John Reynolds aren’t able to sort out their differences over Electric Picnic outside of a court.

Festival Republic Dublin, a joint venture between Desmond and Live Nation, will square up to Reynolds in Dublin’s Commercial Court May 13.

Last summer they were sparring in the same court, when Mr. Justice Peter Kelly once again urged both parties to try to resolve their differences out of court.

Reynolds, who’s bringing his action under Section 205 of the Companies Act, reckons Festival Republic is trying to push him aside in order to add Electric Picnic to its stable of festivals and outdoor events.

Festival Republic counterclaims that Reynolds is behaving in a “deliberately obstructive” way because he wants to sell his remaining shares in Electric Picnic for “grossly inflated prices.”

In 2009 Reynolds’ Pod Concerts was put into liquidation over a $1 million VAT bill, then Desmond came in offering euro 4.2 million for 71 percent of the Pod subsidiary that had Electric Picnic.

Due to the previous rivalry between Desmond and Reynolds, at the time it was said the shares were acquired from Peter Aiken, a third Irish promoter, downplaying that Reynolds had indirectly sold some of his own shares to Desmond.

Aiken was believed to have owned between 20 percent and 30 percent of Electric Picnic, which alone wouldn’t account for FRD getting hold of 71 percent.

At the same time, Reynolds was also reportedly facing other creditors, and a High Court action over a euro 432,741 (then $643,247) PRS bill for previous Picnics.

The settlement that Justice Kelly would have preferred would presumably involve Desmond and Reynolds agreeing to a price for the remaining 29 percent.

Last April there were fears that legal fight between Desmond and Reynolds would derail last year’s Electric Picnic, an annual festival on a 32,000-capacity greenfield site at the Stradbally.