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Promoter Not Amused By Festival Sale Story

01:01 PM Tuesday 1/31/12 | |

Isle Of Wight Festival chief John Giddings laughed off a newspaper story saying his event is up for sale for £12 million ($18.8 million), and said he’d want a lot more than that for it.

He said he’s put 12 years of his life into rebuilding the festival – which reportedly makes £2 million per year – and said any interested party would need to come up with a much better offer.

The Sunday Telegraph said one “offer to buy the Isle of Wight event” came from U.S. entertainment giant AEG, but Giddings – who also has Solo Agency – said he has no idea where that part of the story came from.

The paper suggested AEG, which runs The O2 arena and festival specialist Kilimanjaro Live, is “looking to significantly increase its interest in the lucrative market.”

At press time, it wasn’t possible to get comment from AEG.

Giddings admitted that he’s had calls from people expressing interest in buying IOW, but so far nobody has come up with a firm offer.

“I’m flattered that there’s been some interest, but apart from that there’s not much to the story,” he explained. “It’s the only major festival that’s still fully independent and so there’s bound to be stories about somebody wanting to buy it.”

As European agent for top-selling acts such as U2, The Rolling Stones and Madonna, he said he’s used to fielding calls from people wanting to know how much something would cost and then not hearing from them again.

He said the Telegraph called him a couple of days before running the piece in its Sunday edition Jan. 29.

Giddings, who’s run the festival since 2002, was reportedly the only person to show interest when the island’s local authority wanted to revive it to coincide with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

The original IOW festival started in 1968 and ran annually until 1970, when the crowd ballooned to around 600,000 and the local parliament grew concerned that it had become too big.

The final lineup included The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Doors, Ten Years After, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Joni Mitchell, The Moody Blues, Chicago, Richie Havens, John Sebastian, Leonard Cohen and Jethro Tull.

Giddings says he was so inspired by attending one of the earlier events as a teenager that he couldn’t resist the temptation to bring it back.

The original events were staged at various sites such as Ford Farm, Wootton and Afton Down, but since 2002 it’s been staged on the other side of the island at Seaclose Park.

This year’s lineup (June 22-24) will include Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, Elbow, Biffy Clyro, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Madness, and Joan Armatrading.