promoter AEG takes over Rock Ness

the world's second largest promoter has controlling interest in Scottish festival

published: Fri 13th Jun 2008

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Saturday 7th to Sunday 8th June 2008
Loch Ness, Scotland, Scotland MAP
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last updated: Thu 5th Jun 2008

The second largest concert and tour promoter in the world AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) are to take a controlling share of the Rock Ness festival.

News that AEG had bought the major stake in festival was reported in Highland News (here) which says the deal could mean Rock Ness could attract some of the top worldwide artists.

Although the controlling share will be held by AEG Live UK, the deal will leave the local promoters Rob Hicks and Joe Gibbs of Slingshot and Jim King of Loudsound at the helm of Rock Ness.

The AEG deal will not affect the Slingshot partnership's other Scottish festivals; Joe Gibbs runs the Tartan Heart Festival at his family home at Belladrum and Rob Hicks has the Ullapool-based Loopallu festival.

The pair had previously made it clear that exclusion deals lasting up to a year set up by other music business players meant not just headliners but also small, breaking bands were being prevented from playing smaller festivals. This meant that they were struggling to secure acts for their festivals because of deals done by what they called 'corporate giants'.

The AEG deal will mean that Rock Ness will be in a stronger position to compete to get bigger acts on the bill, as AEG 'own' many big touring artists including Prince, Bon Jovi, Beyonce, and Justin Timberlake, although this does not mean they will play Rock Ness. The company also owns a string of venues across America and the UK such as the former Millennium Dome now the O2 Arena. They also run festivals such as Coachella in California and the company also owns David Beckham's Galaxy LA football team.

AEG also has an interest in some other UK festivals via its joint venture with former Live Nation managing director Stuart Galbraith and his new company Kilimanjaro Live Ltd. Kilimanjaro already own stakes in Bloodstock, Big Green Gathering, and Wakestock.

One of the three Rock Ness directors, Rob Hicks said: "AEG is a first class international operator and promoter, and together we'll build Rock Ness into one of Europe's premier music festivals. The level of acts that we are already discussing with AEG for next year demonstrates the exciting future the festival has, and we think that they are a great partner for us to join up with."

AEG Live president of international touring Rob Hallett said: "Rock Ness is a great concept in a beautiful location run by excellent operators, and we are certain that many of the artists we tour will agree."

AEG's main rival in the global market is Live Nation who earlier this year bought a controlling stake of T in the Park - see news piece here. Live Nation also own Download, and Wireless as well as having a controlling interest in Festival Republic (who run Latitude, and Reading and Leeds) with MCD who control V festivals. It would seem the two giant promoters are going head to head across the festival market in the UK.

Around The Site (2)

Saturday 7th to Sunday 8th June 2008
Loch Ness, Scotland, Scotland MAP
£115 2-days with camping; £100 2-days; £50 day tickets
last updated: Thu 5th Jun 2008

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