Lolla/Glasto Producers Launching Rock-Oriented Festival

After much speculation that C3 Presents would roll out a new music festival in Philadelphia, the Austin-based promoter/producer has pulled an end run and announced the Vineland (N.J.) Music Festival i

After much speculation that C3 Presents would roll out a new music festival in Philadelphia, the Austin-based promoter/producer has pulled an end run and announced the Vineland (N.J.) Music Festival in a partnership with U.K. festival producer Melvin Benn's Festival Republic.

"For our company to be involved with an individual who more or less has inspired the American festival movement as we know it today is an honor for us," C3 partner Charlie Jones tells C3 produces Lollapalooza in Chicago and the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin.

Vineland, a destination camping festival, is set for Aug. 8-10 at a 500-acre, privately-owned farm in Vineland, N.J., about 40 minutes outside of Philadelphia.

Formerly trading as Mean Fiddler, Festival Republic's managing director Benn is one of the most respected festival producers in the world. He took control of the Reading (U.K.) Festival in 1989, which annually draws some 80,000 people. In 1999, Benn added the Leeds Festival to his portfolio and in 2006 Festival Republic created the Latitude Festival at Henham Park in Suffolk. In 2002, Benn also took on producing, licensing, organizational duties and part ownership of the Glastonbury Festival, which now has a capacity of 177,500.

Calling Glastonbury "the most inspirational event" he has ever attended, C3's Jones says his company and Benn's had been working on parallel paths to bring a European-styled festival event to the region. "We had picked Philadelphia as a market and we had been working diligently with the (the city's) Fairmount Parks Commission to launch a festival in downtown Philadelphia," says Jones.

"We were going through the process with the city and the Commission was very motivated and excited about having this done. But, unfortunately, some of the political things that happened in Philadelphia got bogged down with the current administration," Jones continues. "Fortunately, we were able to meet with Melvin about this (Vineland) site and we're now going to launch a beautiful festival at this beautiful site that will ultimately service the people of Philadelphia."

C3 Presents resurrected the Lollapalooza brand in 2005 at Chicago's Grant Park, after arriving on the festival landscape with the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2002. The two events grossed $9.8 million and $11.3 million respectively in 2007; both are held in urban areas.

"The European, Melvin Benn model festival model is a camping festival and ours are based more on urban green spaces," says Jones. "The goal is to take our model and his model and somehow merge it to where there is a feeling of a European camping festival and an American festival at the same time."

Vineland sits about halfway between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. "The community of Vineland, including the mayor, is very supportive and excited to have this in their community," says Jones, who would not disclose terms of the lease. "But it is long enough to invest in an event like this and host a festival that will hopefully be around for a long time."

Jones describes capacity for the festival as "very large," likely in the range of the 80,000-capacity Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee. He says offers to bands are currently out, but none could be confirmed at deadline.

"Vineland will be rock-oriented but the music will be extremely diversified, with hopes of drawing all different types of people," Jones says. His partners in C3, which won the Top Independent Promoter award at the recent Billboard Touring Awards, are Charlie Walker and Charles Attal.


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