Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Hola Espana! MCD boss goes Spanish to buy into Benicassim festival

Denis Desmond has purchased a significant share in the long-running Spanish festival from rival promoter Vince Power

MCD boss Denis Desmond books a flght for Spain

Wed, Jul 3, 2013, 15:10


It’s like the Mean Fiddler takeover all over again. Vince Power has announced the sale of a majority stake in Festival Internacional de Benicassim to long-time rival Denis Desmond. Reports indicate that the MCD boss and Simon Moran’s SJM Concerts have jointly acquired a major shareholding in Maraworld SA, the parent company behind the Benicassim fest.

According to Power, the sale has been caused by “the difficult economic climate coupled with the bad year suffered by Music Festivals PLC”. He remains a shareholder in Maraworld SA and will continue as managing director until August 2013, though it remains to be seen if this situation continues after that date.

Benicassim runs this year from July 18 to 21 and will feature such acts as The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Dizzee Rascal, Primal Scream, Kaiser Chiefs, Bastille, The Courteeners and many more.

It’s another sizable acquistion for Desmond who now has a hand, act or part in such events, companies and festivals as Festival Republic, Latitude, Longitude, Oxegen, the Electric Picnic, V Festival, Reading Festival and Leeds Festival, as well as a ton of venues. This gives Desmond considerable leverage in all future talent negotiations, though there are sure to be some artist reps and agents unhappy with seeing so much influence vested in one individual promoter.

According to accounts released this week, Festival Republic, the company owned jointly by Live Nation and the Desmond-owned Gaiety Investments and which is now a significant player in the Irish live music industry, saw its pre-tax profits in the 12 months to the end of December 2012 fall by 19 per cent from £6.25 million to £5 million and revenues slide slightly from £42.2 million to £41.4 million.

Despite this, the company paid out dividends of nearly £10 million over the last two years and revenues are likely to grow this year because of the increased number of events, though this expected rise depends on those extra events, like the Phoenix Park shows and Oxegen, selling well to begin with.

Desmond was also recently in the news seeking to his restructure his operations and get a discount on €60 million borrowings outstanding with the Lloyds Banking Group’s Bank of Scotland (Ireland) subsidary.