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Co-founder François Missonnier has stepped down as festival director ahead of a rumoured acquisition by AEG – although the US giant's involvement remains unclear
By Jon Chapple on 03 Oct 2017
Sarah Schmitt, the long-time assistant to Rock en Seine co-founder François Missonnier, has replaced Missonnier as festival director, the festival’s new owner has announced, ahead of a rumoured takeover of the event by AEG.
Rock en Seine – one of France’s largest music festivals – was acquired from founders Missonnier, Christophe Davy and Salomon Hazot in April by investment banker Matthieu Pigasse, who says he plans to turn his LNEI (Les Nouvelles Éditions indépendantes) holding company into a “leader in the production of premium content”. Rock en Seine forms part of a new live music division, LNEI Live, comprising the Rock en Seine, inRocKs and Nuits Zébrées festivals.
The next month, Pigasse announced a “very advanced partnership” between LNEI and a “recognised specialised in the programming of major festivals”, named by Libération as AEG. He declined, however, to further elaborate on the nature of the relationship, including whether any money had changed hands.
Unlike rival Live Nation, AEG otherwise lacks a festival presence in France, although it does operate the 17,000-cap. AccorHotels Arena in Paris.
In a statement provided to AFP, LNEI says Missionnier (pictured) will now “dedicate himself to other projects, including Europavox”, a festival in Auvergne he founded in 2006.
A total of 110,000 attended the 15th Rock en Seine, held in late August, matching the festival’s strong showing in 2016, although both figures are down slightly on the 120,000 people who bought tickets to Rock en Seine 2015 (held before the attack on the Bataclan).
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