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Hop Farm festival organisers call in administrators

Hop Farm festival organisers call in administrators

The company behind Hop Farm and Benicassim festivals is preparing to go into administration.

Shares in Vince Power's ailing Music Festivals company were worth 66.5p last June, valuing the company at £10m, but they were suspended at just 2.12p on Friday (September 21), making the company worth just £310,000, The Guardian reports.

The company's prospects looked shaky at the beginning of the summer, when it told investors that ticket sales for Spanish bash Benicassim and Kent's Hop Farm looked disappointing. Both events proved to be loss-making despite big-name headliners such as Bob Dylan.

In August, the company told investors that it expected to make losses for the year and admitted that it was looking for a financial lifeline. Last week, after the search had proved fruitless, it moved for its shares to be suspended.

"The board has in recent weeks pursued a number of different funding proposals but the company has not been able to procure the necessary funding it requires," it said in a statement.

Power owns 23 per cent of the company and, along with relatives, the family stake adds up to more than 40 per cent. Power had also propped up the company with a £750,000 unsecured loan in July. Industry experts have cited the wet summer and an increasingly crowded festival market – there are now thought to be over 700 festivals taking place each year – as well as the Olympics for the company's woes.

Power opened his first venue, Mean Fiddler, in north-west London in 1982. He opened many more venues and events, including London's Forum and Reading festival, turning Mean Fiddler into the largest promoter in Europe. In 2002, he took operational control of Glastonbury for a three-year stint. He sold Mean Fiddler in 2005 for £38 million.

Meanwhile, Surrey music festival Guilfest will shut down after 21 years.

Organisers cite the worst weather conditions in its history this summer, and increased competition from other events as the main reasons for pulling the plug on the bash in Guilford, according to BBC News.

"I'd love to see Guilfest keep going, but I think it's got to be somebody who takes the helm or somebody who would need deeper pockets," organiser Tony Scott said. His company Scotty Events Ltd has been left with debts of around £300,000.

This year's bash – which was headlined by Jools Holland, Ash, Olly Murs and Bryan Ferry – faced heavy rain over three days in July. "It rained on the Saturday and Sunday in 2011, but this year I've never known anything like it," Scott said. "It was a quagmire by Saturday and [by] Sunday it had turned into sticky bog."

He added: "There was a lot of competition this year. The Olympics were on, a lot of people were going to that...There was Tom Jones playing up the road at Sandown Park, Bruce Springsteen was playing in London, and there was an awful lot going on around our weekend as well as the bad weather."


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