In a surprise move, Vince Power's bullish U.K. festivals and venue operator Mean Fiddler Music Group today (Feb. 14) announced it has taken a 20% stake in the Glastonbury Festival. The move is designe

In a surprise move, Vince Power's bullish U.K. festivals and venue operator Mean Fiddler Music Group today (Feb. 14) announced it has taken a 20% stake in the Glastonbury Festival. The move is designed to guarantee the long-running event's future. "[The deal] was inevitable really, because we needed a new approach to our operations, with connection to licensing, and health and safety," Glastonbury's founder and organizer Michael Eavis tells Billboard.com. "We had to make some serious changes in the organization, and really we can't all be hippies."

The news follows Eavis' warning last month that ongoing security breaches from non-paying spectators could bring to an end the famous annual festival.

Importantly for Mean Fiddler, the alliance greatly expands its brand, in line with Power's key objectives. The firm already supports the annual Reading and Leeds events, one of the world's largest dual-sited music festivals.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Mean Fiddler assumes operational management of the festival. Mean Fiddler managing director Melvin Benn -- an employee of the festival during the 1980s -- takes additional duties as Glastonbury operational director. In exchange, Mean Fiddler takes 20% of the net profit earned by the event, after Glastonbury's beneficiaries are paid. Glastonbury raises funds for such charities as Oxfam, Greenpeace, and WaterAid, as well as various local foundations.

"Hopefully we'll secure the long-term viability of the event," says Eavis. "I expect us to carry on... what's going to stop us now?"

Mean Fiddler did not release details until the closure last night of the London stock exchange, where it is listed on the Alternative Investment Market. Mean Fiddler also owns 12 venues, including the Jazz Cafe, the Mean Fiddler, the Forum, and Point 101, and promotes, in addition to Reading and Leeds, such festivals as the Fleadh in the U.K. and U.S., and Homelands. Mean Fiddler claims 2 million people attended its events last year.

In other news, tickets for this year's Glastonbury festival -- which is set for June 28-30 -- go on sale Feb. 22 priced at £100 ($143 U.S.), including a program and handling fees. For more information, visit the event's official Web site.