Electric Picnic generates €1.9m profit, up from €369k in 2017

But parent company, owned by Denis Desmond and Live Nation sees profits vanish

Chvrches vocalist Lauren Mayberry on the main stage at Electric Picnic 2018. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Chvrches vocalist Lauren Mayberry on the main stage at Electric Picnic 2018. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

Profits at the company that operates the Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally, Co Laois, rocketed five-fold in 2017 compared with the year before, according to the latest accounts filed with the Companies Office.

The figures for EP Republic, a subsidiary of LN-Gaiety, suggest the event generated a profit of €1.9 million, which was up substantially on the €369,463 the year before.

The directors said the company had net assets as well as a considerable cash balance, and, as such, they said there was a “reasonable expectation” that it had “adequate resources” to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, its parent, LN-Gaiety, which is a joint venture between concert promoter Denis Desmond and global music behemoth Live Nation, made a loss of £227,496 in 2017 compared with a profit of £2.9 million the year before.

LN-Gaiety Holdings, of which Mr Desmond owns 49 per cent and the US company the rest, also saw operating profit plunge by 43 per cent to £5.5 million from £9.6 million the year before.

The reduction in operating profit could be attributed to an increase in administrative expenses and reduced turnover, which was down 1.3 per cent to £199.4 million.

Camping festivals

LN-Gaiety has up to 50 per cent of the market in the UK for large camping festivals. It already operates about 20 major UK outdoor music events, including the Reading and Leeds festivals, and the V Festival, which takes place across two venues simultaneously.

However, there was a reduction of 11 per cent in the number of shows the company ran in 2017, down from 4,728 to 4,191, while the number of admissions was down 2.7 per cent to just over 5.3 million.

Net assets at the company were down 1.5 per cent to £40.1 million. A total of £527,850 of dividends were paid to “non-controlling interests” during the year, which was down from £3.2 million the year before.

Mr Desmond did not respond to a request for comment from The Irish Times.

During the year, LN-Gaiety, which has three members of the Desmond family on its board, got the go-ahead from competition regulators in the UK to take control of the Isle of Wight music festival.

The event, which has featured acts such as David Guetta, Arcade Fire, Rod Stewart, Run DMC and the Kaiser Chiefs in recent years, attracts more than 40,000 festival-goers over four days on the island just off England’s south coast.

More recently, Mr Desmond and Caroline Downey sold half of their promotion company, MCD Productions, to Live Nation.

Mr Desmond said the MCD deal, which took place in August, would have no effect on the Dublin venues, the Gaiety theatre or the Olympia, which are separately owned by Mr Desmond and Ms Downey through Gaiety Investments.