Speculation grows over V Festival future

Speculation grows over V Festival future

Speculation is rife over the future of the V Festival, with multiple Music Week sources claiming its Staffordshire edition will not go ahead in 2018. 

The twin event has been held each August at Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park, Staffordshire since the 1990s but is yet to announce its 2018 dates - unlike other large-scale outdoor festivals such as Reading & Leeds, Wireless, Isle Of Wight, TRNSMT, Download and Boardmasters.

Music Week understands that V Festival promoter Festival Republic is still planning to run a festival at the Chelmsford site in 2018, although it remains to be seen whether this will be under the V banner.

Festival Republic has declined to comment, but an announcement is rumoured for October. 

Launched in 1996, V's "northern" leg moved to Stafford three years later after the then fledgling Leeds Festival nipped in to take over its original Temple Newsam home, but remained a swift sell-out right up to the early 2010s. 

However, it has proved less successful in recent years due to numerous factors including the rise of city-based festivals and boutique events, but enjoyed a resurgence in 2016 when it switched to a pop-heavy bill, headlined by Justin Bieber and Rihanna

“Basically, we’re back where we were in 2013 and where we’d been for the previous few years,” then-organiser Simon Forshaw told Music Week last year. “I’d like to think that the last couple of years were a bit of a blip, while we refocused.”

While this year's line-up featured artists such as Jay-Z, Pink, Ellie Goulding and Stormzy, it is believed that ticket sales were significantly slower - particularly for the Staffordshire event - with numerous 2 for 1 ticket deals being offered in the weeks and months leading up to the event.

Festival Republic's parent company Live Nation acquired a stake in the annual events back in 2013 via its LN-Gaiety joint-venture. The agreement saw LN-Gaiety become the majority shareholder in the V Festivals alongside founders Denis Desmond (who became chairman of Live Nation UK in 2015), SJM Concerts' Simon Moran and Metropolis Music's Bob Angus. Metropolis joined forces with Live Nation earlier this year. 

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