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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Mean Fiddler losses grow
Astoria, London
Mean Fiddler owns venues such as London's Astoria Theatre
Mean Fiddler, the company that runs the Reading and Leeds festivals and Glastonbury, has suffered a multi-million-pound loss.

It announced on Monday a pre-tax loss of £8.3m for 2002, compared to £1.6m the previous year.

But the company said much of it losses could be blamed on its loss-making restaurant and bars division and a radio station, Mean Country, which it has already sold.

It said it would now concentrate on its festivals, live venues and tour promoting.

"The three remaining divisions should enable the company to achieve profitable growth in the foreseeable future," said chairman Vince Power.

Timberlake tour

A spokesman said Mean Fiddler did not plan to close any of its venues, which include London's Forum, Astoria and Jazz Café.

"Mean Fiddler has sold a number of its loss-making parts for cash and agreed terms for selling the remainder," a Mean Fiddler spokesman said.

Lynet Leisure has bought the bars and restaurants for £2.3 m, while Sunrise Radio has agreed to pay £1.5m for Mean Country radio.

As well as running the festivals, Mean Fiddler also runs some eight music venues in the UK and has begun promoting tours, including this winter's stadium tour by pop star Justin Timberlake.

Mean Fiddler was set up by Irish promoter Vince Power in 1982 with a single venue, based in Harlesden, north-west London.

Glastonbury
Glastonbury Festival is now partly-owned by Mean Fiddler

It has run the Reading Festival since the late 1980s, recently took a 40% stake in the Glastonbury Festival.

This year's festival, which finished on Sunday, was hailed by organiser Michael Eavis as the most successful yet. It included a £1m "superfence" to keep out gatecrashers.

Mean Fiddler has also set up a series of Irish music concerts - called The Fleadh - in the UK, the US and Australia.

However, this year the UK's Fleadh, held in London's Finsbury Park, had to be cancelled because it could not find a suitable Irish headliner. Previously it had been headlined by Van Morrison and The Pogues.

The Mean Fiddler's spokesman said the company expected the festival to return in 2004.


SEE ALSO:
Leeds Festival promoters fight on
19 Jun 02  |  Entertainment
Glastonbury 2002 is safe
20 Feb 02  |  Entertainment
Fiddler calls the tune
19 Feb 02  |  Entertainment


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