Festival Republic, the renamed live music specialist born from the U.K.’s Mean Fiddler Music Group, is planning to branch out into the United States.
Billboard.biz has learned that the £6 million ($12 million) sum MAMA Group agreed to pay for MFMG’s brand and a host of its venues will help fund an expansion move Stateside.
“The principle desire is to move into North America,” Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn, formerly MD of MFMG, tells Billboard.biz. “I’d like to create a festival in North America. Probably not a boutique festival, but something more closely aligned with Reading and Leeds Festivals.”
As previously reported, MFMG reached an agreement with the British media and marketing firm MAMA which sees several iconic London live music venues — including Jazz Cafe, the Borderline and the Garage — change hands.
MAMA also gains control of the “Mean Fiddler” brand and Web site. But through the terms of the deal, MAMA cannot exploit its newly-acquired brand for festivals with capacities in excess of 10,000.
From now on, Benn intends to utilise the new Festival Republic brand at every opportunity. “If we wanted to, we could still operate Reading and Leeds, plus Glastonbury and Latitude under the Mean Fiddler banners. The reality is that we are not going to use it,” Benn says. “Festival Republic is the new company that I’m running and I want it to move away from the legacy of what was the Mean Fiddler, and to build something that was about the team of people that have created the best festivals in the world.
The upcoming Reading and Leeds festivals “gives us the chance to get the name out there,” notes Benn. “I intend to do that to the greatest degree possible.”
The annual Reading and Leeds weekend will take place from Aug. 24, with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins and Razorlight among the headliners.