Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn tells Billboard.biz "it's been another good year" for his events. As he looks back over a strong U.K. festival season, he makes Axl Rose's antics at Reading and Leeds Festivals sound like nothing more than a little local difficulty.

However, the approximate 20-minute overrun in breach of the 11pm curfew by GNR at Leeds Festival on Aug. 29 could cost Axl Rose and co £20,000 ($31,000) - or £1,000 ($1,539) for each minute.

A quick recap: Guns N' Roses went on an hour late, at 10.30pm, at Reading Festival (Aug. 27) and protested when the sound was cut at midnight. The curfew was 11.30pm but Benn had secured an extra 30 minutes from the licensing authority, so no fine will be payable.

The band went on 30 minutes late in Leeds, but there was no such deal to extend the curfew. Rose has since taken to Twitter to make various claims, but Benn is clear that they should have finished at 11pm. He took the decision to let them play on, but today (Sept. 1) he confirms that Axl Rose may have to pay for his tardiness.

"There will probably be a fine to pay, it's not determined yet," says Benn. "The consequences are probably greater for Guns N' Roses than they are for me."

He confirms that any fine payable to Leeds' licensing authority will be approximately £20,000 and will be deducted from GNR's fee.

"I'm very bored about it because Guns N' Roses were just one of 236 acts that played at both Reading and Leeds, and quite frankly every [act] is as valuable to me as any other," he adds. "When you think of the other performances that actually did just bring amazing delight without any stupidity, people like Blink [182], Arcade Fire and the Libertines... all the bands that are starting out on the Introducing Stage, and Pendulum, Klaxons and Mumford & Sons. It has become a bit boring focusing on the antics of Axl Rose, really."

Rose's behavior has certainly become predictable, and may deter festival promoters from booking them in future.

Last night (Sept. 1) Guns N' Roses also went on late - reports suggest at least one hour - at Dublin O2 Arena. Fans showed their frustration by throwing plastic bottles, which prompted the band to walk off after 20 minutes. They were persuaded to return an hour later and the show finally ended at 1am. Promoter MCD apologized to fans for the late finish.

Benn says Reading and Leeds sold out as quickly this year as in 2009 and confirms that he hopes to increase the capacity of Leeds from 70,000 to 80,000 next year. Reading's capacity will remain at 87,000.

Florence 'Fantastic'

Latitude Festival in Suffolk also sold out and Benn feels vindicated in giving Florence and the Machine its first festival headline slot. "I thought it was fantastic, I've never seen the arena so full at Latitude as it was for Florence, everybody wanted to be there," he says.

Benn was also involved in Glastonbury festival - another sell-out - at an operational level, and Festival Republic took control of the Big Chill festival in Herefordshire in 2010. London-based Festival Republic is majority-owned by Live Nation.

"Big Chill didn't sell out but was a great event for a first year," he says. "The three headliners, MIA, Lily Allen and Massive Attack just provided a great breadth of entertainment that really summed up where Big Chill may go [in the future]."

Benn says the line-up of Big Chill has been strengthened and refined, although he still sees it as part of the boutique festival market, which gets more business from older music fans and families compared to major rock festivals. He also cites the transfer of Jon Dunn, VP of music promotions U.K. at Live Nation, to Festival Republic last year as key to securing major talent at Latitude and Big Chill.

While the touring business has been hit stateside and perhaps in the U.K., too, Benn says that this has been a strong festival season and that artists' fees have not been cut.

"I think the reality is that certainly the U.K. festivals just remain incredible value for money," he says. However, he is concerned about that ticket prices will be forced up next year from the rise in VAT sales tax to 20% and any increase in the tariff payable to PRS for Music.

Benn was speaking to Billboard.biz from the Electric Picnic festival site near Portlaoise in Ireland, which runs Sept. 3-5, featuring Roxy Music, Leftfield, Massive Attack, Mumford & Sons and the National. And he concedes that it has been tough in Ireland this year because of its fragile economy.

"I think it's fair to say that Ireland is in the midst of a depression," he says. "It really is tough out here. I'll be honest with you: the ticket sales in advance have been relatively slow."

Nevertheless, he is hopeful that late ticket sales will be strong, and that 95% of tickets will be sold.