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Reading booker Pengelly departs Festival Republic, Haddad joins in Latitude role

By | Published on Thursday 11 October 2012

Festival Republic

Festivals company Festival Republic has announced that Neil Pengelly is to leave the company after nearly two decades working on the firm’s events. The booker joined what was then Mean Fiddler in 1990, and began working on the Reading Festival in 1994, and has helped lead that annual bash and its newer Leeds Festival sister event to new levels of success, booking 94 headliners along the way.

Confirming Pengelly’s departure, Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn told CMU yesterday: “To say he will be missed by me and the rest of the team is an understatement and my thanks would be too gushing to write down and be acceptable to him! However, true to form from Neil, the festival comes first, and he will stay on through October and in an advisory and consultative role until March next year, to support his replacement who will pick up the challenge and excitement of booking the bill and the bands at the world’s greatest twin site music festival”.

Pengelly’s replacement will join the company next month, but is still to be announced. Though Benn added: “My sorrow at seeing Neil go is tempered only by the confidence I have in welcoming his replacement to the FR team and the excitement I have in working with him to shape the next chapter at Reading and Leeds”.

However, we do know for certain the name of another new recruit at Festival Republic, who will join the company on 31 Oct and have a particular focus on the firm’s Latitude festival. Natasha Haddad joins the company from the MAMA Group, where she worked on various festivals, including Wilderness, Lovebox and especially The Great Escape, as well as promoting gigs for the current incarnation of Mean Fiddler (now part of MAMA rather than Benn’s business, of course).

Confirming her new role, Haddad told CMU: “I am very excited to be joining Melvin and the Latitude team at Festival Republic. The past five years working with The Great Escape and the wider MAMA team across many different events and festivals have been invaluable, and I wish them all the best for years to come, however I can’t wait to start working on the music programme at Latitude for 2013 and onwards”.

And Benn added: “I am very pleased to be welcoming Natasha into the Festival Republic team and I look forward to working together on our vision for the eighth edition of Latitude and beyond. Natasha is well qualified having programmed a number of events and festivals in her previous roles and her addition to the team will, without a doubt, help to keep Latitude the unique and innovative event it already is”.