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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 12:23 GMT
Fiddler calls the tune
Mean Fiddler
Mean Fiddler made Reading a success
The Mean Fiddler organisation is one of the most influential music events companies in Britain.

Established in 1982 by Vince Power with just one venue in Harlesden, London, the company now has interests in festivals such as the Fleadh, Reading and Leeds, Homelands, Gig on the Green and now Glastonbury, as well as more than 40 music venues nationwide.

Mean Fiddler ventures & venues
Jazz Cafe
The Garage
London Astoria
Reading/Leeds festival
Subterania
Mean Fiddler
the Forum
Fleadh
Power's Bar
Bartok
Jam in the Park
Homelands
Gig on the Green
ION bar
LiveOnLine
21 Big Beat venues
It is a remarkable story of empire building by Power who is almost certainly the leading figure in live music in the UK.

Last year the company could boast that more than two million people attended gigs it had organised.

Nashville

It is also broadening its scope with designs on foreign spin offs of the Fleadh and others of its festivals, a digital TV channel and its expanding restaurant business.

In December 1982 it started with a country and western club in north west London.

U2 at the Astoria
Fiddler runs the Astoria in London
The Mean Fiddler, so called because of the number of fiddler players in Power's Irish family, was created after a trip to Nashville, in the US.

The financial future of the venture was always in doubt in the early days but the success of bands such as The Pogues, Erasure helped consolidate the business.

In 1988 the business expanded, with venues in Islington and Ladbroke Grove.

Bands such as Oasis, Pulp, Supergrass and Radiohead cut their live teeth with gigs at Power's venues.

Shrewd

A year later the company took a 50% stake in the ailing Reading Festival and helped transform its fortunes.

Described as a shrewd businessmen, Power showed all his financial acumen when his partners at Reading ousted Mean Fiddler and took control.

Reading festival
Plans are afoot for foreign versions of UK events
In an audacious move, Power bought the lease to the land on which the festival was held and won back control.

As his success grew, concern mounted that Power and Mean Fiddler had too much control over live music in London and beyond.

But Power has always said people should be grateful that live music is in the hands of someone who cares about it.

The turnover of the company is about 25m and it is planning a reverse takeover of itself and developing its new brand Meanfiddler.com, the first stage in plans to expand into Europe and television.

In an interview Powers said of criticism: "A lot of bull has been written about us, but what it's all down to is 20 years of hard work."

 VOTE RESULTS
Should Mean Fiddler be involved in Glastonbury?

Yes
 22.10% 

No
 77.90% 

1733 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

19 Feb 02 | Music
Glastonbury fights for identity
25 Jan 02 | Music
Green light for Glastonbury
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