FR Enjoys A Bigger Picnic

Festival Republic’s first year of full ownership of Ireland’s Electric Picnic produced a record-breaking advance sellout, with the all the festival’s 41,000 four-day tickets going a month before the event opened. 

Photo: Jamie Tanner

That was roughly 25 percent up on last year’s 31,000 crowd. In May Festival Republic bought out the 29 percent stake owned by John Reynolds, the Irish promoter who founded the event in 2004.

In 2009 FR had paid euro 4.2 million (then $5.7 million) for 71 percent of the Stradbally festival, at a time when it was financial trouble and being chased by royalty collection agencies for outstanding charges amounting to euro 432,741 ($643,247).

Irish collection agency IMRO had threatened to oppose the event’s future licenses if the matter wasn’t settled.

The buyout of Reynolds’ remaining shares ended a legal battle that had been in and out of the Irish High Court in Dublin for longer than a year. Reynolds filed suit under Section 205 of the Companies Act, claiming FR was trying to muscle him out of Electric Picnic out of the festival’s organization as a prelude to buying his remaining shares.

FR countered by saying Reynolds was using the legal action to hike up the price of his stake in the Stradbally festival. It said he was asking a “grossly inflated” price for it.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly repeatedly urged Desmond and Reynolds to sort out a compromise among themselves, which they eventually did one day before the matter was due back in court.

Benn says this year’s Picnic was the best ever, citing standout performances from such mainstage acts as OutkastPortisheadPet Shop BoysFoalsLily Allen, and Paolo Nutini. The other acts helping the legal dust to settle on Electric Picnic Aug. 29-31 included Chic ft. Nile RodgersBlondie, and SBTRKT.