It’s hard to believe that company chief Denis Desmond, who has the buying power of his ownership or part ownership of such UK festivals as V, Reading, Leeds and T In The Park, can’t find the necessary talent – but he is known to have ongoing issues with some Irish local authorities and police forces.
This will be the second year Oxegen has missed Since 2011, when leading brand engagement network Havas Sports & Entertainment said it was the best festival in Europe.
In 2012, the annual three-dayer at Punchestown Racecourse in Naas took a year off amid rumours that the bill for policing the event had become too expensive.
A year earlier, five teenagers suffered stab wounds at Oxegen Festival but at the time local police said it was an isolated incident and the event had less trouble than in previous years.
The main problem with the police in 2012 was caused by a brawl at a Swedish House Mafia show at Dublin’s Phoenix Park, which did nothing to improve relations between MCD and local police. The three shows the act played at the 35,000-capacity outdoor venue appeared to spark a mini crime wave. Nine people were stabbed, eight of them needing medical treatment. There were 58 arrests and more than 110 charges filed, mainly for offenses including public disorder, drunkenness and drugs.
A couple of months later Justice Minister Alan Shatter made public the covering letter to a report into the event, written by Garda (police) Commissioner Martin Callinan, which was highly critical of what it said was MCD’s failure to implement appropriate security measures. Desmond said the letter was published without any notice or consultation with MCD.
“This was despite an agreement with the Garda Commissioner’s office that further review meetings would be held between both parties prior to the publication of any Garda or MCD reviews,” he told the Irish Independent.
Last year Oxegen became so focused on DJs that Desmond told Pollstar he was thinking of renaming it Oxedance.
The event reportedly pulled 50,000 per day but the lineup, which included David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Snoop Dogg, Pitbull, and Chase & Status, was clearly aimed at a different market from the 2011 event. The main acts on that occasion included Beyoncé, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, and The Strokes. It wasn’t possible to get comment from Desmond at press time.