Live Nation has continued its recent shopping spree by becoming the majority shareholder of the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival.
The Isle of Wight Festival, held annually on the British island, has a rich 45-year history. It was considered to be Europe’s equivalent to Woodstock when it hosted its first series of festivals between 1968 and 1970 and featured the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Doors.
Agent and promoter John Giddings, who revived the event in 2002 after a 32-year hiatus, will continue his leadership role at the event.
Live Nation has developed one of the largest and most diverse portfolios of festivals in the world with its 86 events including Download, Lollapalooza, Reading & Leeds, Way Out West, Rock Werchter, Splendour Festival Australia and US favourites Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits, Governor’s Ball.
Last year, Live Nation made eight major acquisitions, with the Isle of Wight deal bringing the 2017 total already to six. Recently, the company also acquired the BottleRock Napa Valley music and culinary festival, as well as live events operator CT Touring and promoter Cuffe & Taylor. Live Nation also acquired a majority interest in Israeli promoter Bluestone entertainment and launched a new Ticketmaster Israel division.
This year’s Isle of Wight Festival will see more than 100 acts playing across eight stages and an expected audience of 42,000 with David Guetta, Run DMC, Arcade Fire and Rod Stewart headlining.
Giddings revived the event in 2002 after a 32-year hiatus. Since then, the festival has hosted the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie and Amy Winehouse, among many other big names.
The 1970 event was by far the largest and most famous of the early festivals and the unexpectedly high attendance levels of approximately 600,000 led to parliament adding a section to the ‘Isle of Wight County Council Act 1971’, preventing overnight open-air gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special licence from the council.
Giddings said: “After 15 hugely successful and glorious years, we have been looking at how we can elevate and take the Isle of Wight Festival to the next level. This partnership with Live Nation will give us the ability to access the company’s scale and talent pool, bringing more acts and a better experience to the UK.”
Denis Desmond, chairman of Live Nation UK, said: “John Giddings and the Solo team have developed the Isle of Wight Festival to be one of the most iconic festival brands in the world and it’s fantastic to be able to add it to our growing and diverse portfolio of festivals.”