Live Nation Takes Majority Stake in Isle of Wight Festival
Live Nation's expansion drive shows no sign of slowing, with the entertainment giant's latest deal seeing it become the majority shareholder in the Isle of Wight Festival.
The investment sees Live Nation partner with the festival's modern day founder John Giddings and his Solo Music Agency to develop and lead the event, which was first held in 1968 and is commonly referred to as Europe's equivalent of Woodstock.
Bob Dylan, The Band, Jefferson Airplane, T-Rex, Free, Joe Cocker and The Who all played the green field festival between 1968 and 1970, with over 600,000 people reported to have attended the final edition, when Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and Leonard Cohen were on the bill.
After a 30 year hiatus, the festival returned in 2002 under the guidance of Giddings. Artists who have played there in the past 15 years include The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Muse, Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam, Jay Z, Coldplay, The Sex Pistols and The Police.
"After 15 hugely successful and glorious years, we have been looking at how we can elevate and take the Isle of Wight Festival to the next level," said Giddings in a statement confirming the deal. He went on to say that he partnership will "give us the ability to access the company's scale and talent pool, bringing more acts and a better experience to the U.K."
"John Giddings and the Solo team have developed the Isle of Wight Festival to be one of the most iconic festival brands in the world and it's fantastic to be able to add it to our growing and diverse portfolio of festivals," added Denis Desmond, chairman of Live Nation UK.
The deal further expands Live Nation's festival portfolio, which already spans more than 85 events across the globe, including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Governor's Ball, Lollapalooza, Rock Werchter, Splendour Festival Australia and the dual site Reading and Leeds festivals in the U.K.
It also follows a number of recent acquisition deals, including the purchase of Metropolis Music, one of the U.K.'s biggest independent concert and event promoters, and the acquisition of a majority stake in leading Israeli promoter, Bluestone Entertainment.