MCD faces claims of ‘abrasive management behaviour’

Live promoter ‘looking into allegation of breaches of dignity-at-work policy’

Concert promoter MCD, which runs the music festival Electric Picnic, is facing claims of “abrasive management behaviour” within the business.

The company, which is controlled by US events giant Live Nation Entertainment, said it was examining the claims but did not provide any details, saying its internal affairs were private.

Confirmation that MCD is facing the issue came after The Irish Times submitted questions about the company’s response to complaints.

The reply was issued by MCD co-founder Denis Desmond, the driving force behind the business for decades. “We can confirm for the record that MCD is looking into allegation [sic] of breaches of the company’s dignity-at-work policy relating exclusively to abrasive management behaviour,” he wrote in an email. “The welfare of our staff is of paramount importance to us and we are looking at the allegation accordingly.”


There was no response from a Live Nation spokeswoman when asked to clarify whether the allegation was made in relation to one MCD management figure or more than one. She also did not clarify whether there was one complainant or more than one.

Not forthcoming

Insisting that procedures within the business were confidential, the Live Nation spokeswoman declined to say who was complained about or whether the process was advanced.

The same questions were submitted directly to Mr Desmond, who is the UK and Ireland chairman of Live Nation. He did not respond.

Like other concert promoters, MCD was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic as it led to the cancellation of all music and live entertainment events in a succession of lockdowns. It received an insurance payment when the 2020 Electric Picnic was cancelled because of the pandemic.

The 2021 Electric Picnic was cancelled last month after Laois County Council refused to grant it a licence.

MCD made its name promoting Irish acts and bringing big international acts to Ireland, and it developed a big presence in the UK market. The sale to Live Nation Entertainment, whose artists include U2, closed in January 2020 after 16 months of regulatory oversight.

As restrictions ease, the company has scheduled numerous events for the coming months, including Westlife, Bryan Adams, Duran Duran, David Gray, Kodaline, Gary Barlow, The Killers, Lionel Richie and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times