Mar 11, 2024 2 min read

Live industry veteran Vince Power dies, aged 76

Veteran music promoter Vince Power has died, aged 76, it was confirmed over the weekend. Opening his first venue, Mean Fiddler, in London in 1982, he built an empire than included numerous venues and festivals

Live industry veteran Vince Power dies, aged 76

Promoter Vince Power has died, aged 76. 

Those paying tribute over the weekend included Paul Weller, who said that Power was “a good friend”, and Tanita Tikaram, who said, “Like many artists I owe so much to Vince. He gave me my first gig at the Mean Fiddler acoustic room attended by about three people but he made sure one of them was an important agent”.

Born John Vincent Power in Waterford, Ireland in 1947, he moved to London aged fifteen and worked a number of jobs before being inspired to enter the music industry after a trip to Nashville. He opened his first venue, Mean Fiddler, in Harlesden, North London, in 1982.

Originally showcasing Irish folk and country music acts, it eventually began putting on more mainstream artists. From there, Power founded the Mean Fiddler Group, buying up other venues in the city and later expanding into festivals. 

As well as owning venues such as the Astoria, The Garage and Jazz Cafe, and running the Phoenix festival from 1993 to 1997, the company became particularly well known as the promoter of the Reading Festival, which it acquired in 1989, adding sister event the Leeds Festival just over a decade later. In 2002, it also took a 20% stake in the Glastonbury Festival as the event struggled with licensing issues. 

Power sold his stake in the Mean Fiddler Group to Clear Channel (now Live Nation) in 2005, subsequently setting up new company Vince Power Music Group, which went into administration a few years later. He also set up another company, Music Festivals PLC, which floated on the stock exchange in 2011. 

Music Festivals ran the Hop Farm Festival in the UK and Benicàssim in Spain, and went into administration in 2012, with Hop Farm making massive losses and Benicàssim bringing in lower than expected profits. Power acquired both brands from Music Festivals, but was forced to cancel the 2013 edition of Hop Farm due to poor ticket sales. 

The following year Power was temporarily banned from promoting live events in the UK due to a dispute with PRS For Music, after it turned out that the 2009 to 2012 editions of Hop Farm had gone ahead without a licence from the collecting society. 

More recently, Power launched Irish music festival Feis in Liverpool and took over Camden venue Dingwalls, renamed The PowerHaus due to trademark issues, as well as a number of other small venues in London.

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