Vince Power 1947-2024

One of the cornerstones of the modern festival era, Vince Power, has died aged 76.

A statement from his family said he was a “visionary entrepreneur who enhanced and influenced the music industry significantly, whilst always being a dedicated, loving father and loyal friend to so many”

Born in Waterford in 1947, Power moved to London in his mid-teens. He initially built a successful secondhand furniture business over two decades, which he then sold to open the Mean Fiddler in Harlsden, initially championing Irish folk music and Country and Western.

Success followed and Power’s Mean Fiddler group acquired and opened a number pof London venues.

1989 saw his entry into the Festival market when he took on the struggling Reading Festival, adding the second Leeds site 10 years later. Outdoor events were not always a success, with  a show back in Ireland featuring Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis laving £2.5m in debt.

Powers launched the Phoenix Festival, located at Long Marston Airfield near Stratford Upon Avon, in 1993; the 1996 edition featured David Bowie, Neil Young, Björk and the Sex Pistols. Findbury Park was adopted as the home of his Fleadh Events, bringing together the top tier of Irish folk and rock.

Mean Fiddler Group went public in 2000, taking a stake in Glastonbury Festival in 2022 (bought back in 2012). Power sold up in 2004 and set up Vince Power Music Group, taking a stake in Benicàssim in 2005 and  founding the Hop Farm Festival which took place in Kent between 2008 and 2012, featuring The Eagles, Prince and Bob Dylan. The demise of Hop Farm left artists and suppliers out of pocket, with Powers eventually being banned from promoting live music after it was found that the festival had been running without a performing rights licence.

In 2006, Power was made an honorary CBE.