Glastonbury calls time on Festival Republic alliance

The Glastonbury Festival’s alliance with Festival Republic has come to end, according to a statement issued by Melvin Benn’s company, CMU has reported.

Glastonbury’s partnership with Festival Republic – at the time still Mean Fiddler – began in 2002, with Reading Festival promoter Benn taking on the licensing and operational aspects of the Glastonbury Festival. This was partly in order to help reassure members of the local council’s licensing committee, who had voiced a number of concerns regarding the annual event, such as issues surrounding the number of people gaining access to the festival’s site without tickets. This ultimately led to a successful partnership, with the customary licensing challenges surrounding the festival each spring becoming a thing of the past.

However, after ten years the alliance has come to an amicable end, with Glastonbury set to appoint its own operations director to take care of these elements of the festival. Festival Republic will be heavily involved in this process, as well as helping to oversee the smooth transition of licensing control back to the Glastonbury enterprise. Benn says that the move will allow him to plough more of his time into Festival Republic’s own events and on his role as chairman of Wembley Stadium, a position he has occupied for over a year.

Confirming he was standing down from his Glastonbury involvement, Benn stated: "From an operational point of view, myself and my team have taken the festival as far as we can and it is time for a change, I think. It has been a wonderful journey with Michael but Latitude, Berlin, Hove and Electric Picnic, none of which existed in 2002, are my priorities, alongside maintaining Leeds and Reading as the bastions of the festival calendar they are, not to mention my demands at Wembley. That said I am committed to ensuring as smooth a handover as possible to the new team in Pilton and enjoying Glastonbury for many years to come as a festival-goer myself."

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis also commented: "Melvin definitely earned his stripes running the gates for us during the ‘80s. That was a difficult time dealing with the closure of Stonehenge, the Battle Of The Beanfield and the travellers, and my attempts to accept them here at Worthy Farm was exciting but very challenging. We both learnt a lot about festivals then, and Melvin and I have managed to put together what is the Glastonbury we have now. I’ll be sorry to see him go, but he has masses of responsibility with all of his shows across the world and now is a good time to part company. I’ve got just about the best team in the business, and Emily and Nick are heading up the next generation to take on more responsibility as well."

Also commenting on how his festival may have fared in light of last weekend’s atrocious weather conditions, Eavis joked: "Looking across the farm at the moment I think we were very lucky to choose a good wet year to take out – an amazing bit of luck! See you all next year with a very promising line-up."

As part of the original alliance, Festival Republic still possesses a stake in Glastonbury Festivals 2011 Limited, the festival’s operations company. This will now be passed on to Festival Republic’s parent company, a subsidiary of Live Nation, so to – says the statement – "secure the future of the festival." The change will not affect the interest in that business held by The Workers Beer Company, the not-for-profit bars operator that works with Festival Republic at several of its festivals.

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