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V Festival set for rebrand as Virgin sponsorship ends

For the first time since its founding in 1996, V Festival is to get a new name, as Richard Branson's company focuses on 'new ways we can disrupt the industry'

By IQ on 30 Oct 2017

V Festival

image © V Festival

After 22 years, Virgin Group is ending its relationship with V Festival, Virgin founder Richard Branson announced today, with V 2017 the last year of the UK festival in its current guise.

“V Festival has always been a special weekend for everyone at Virgin,” says Branson. “We’ve been proud to sponsor V Festival for the past two decades and there have been some incredible performances on the stage. Now, after 22 very enjoyable and successful years, 2017 was Virgin’s last V Festival.

V Festival, promoted by Live Nation, Metropolis Music, MCD Productions and SJM Concerts, debuted in 1996 as twin festivals in Hylands Park, Chelmsford, and Victoria Park in Warrington, with headliners Pulp, Paul Weller and Elastica. The northern England leg moved to Leeds in 1997, before settling in its current home of Weston Park in Staffordshire in 1999.

Branson describes working with the festival as “a brilliant journey filled with great people, fun times and exceptional music”, but says Virgin is now focused on “look[ing] at new ways we can disrupt the industry to ensure music is a force for good.”

“After 22 very enjoyable and successful years, 2017 was Virgin’s last V Festival”

“Virgin already is investing in exciting music initiatives such as Sofar Sounds, who bring artists to perform live in an intimate venue and give you the chance to just be still and listen,” he continues. “Seeing my first Sofar gig reminded me of the early days of Virgin Records, where we sat on beanbags and drifted away with the music as we found new bands to sign and fall in love with.

Relaunched music station Virgin Radio is also going strong in the UK, along with our thriving radio stations with hundreds of thousands of listeners tuning in from all over the world.

“We’re really excited about the future ahead and can’t wait to share our plans with music lovers across the globe.”

Speaking to Music Week, Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn confirms the festival will continue under a new name over the same weekend in August, with plans to expand from two to three days at both sites. Programming, meanwhile, will “very much continue to have a pop and dance focus”.

Live Nation bought a stake in V in 2013, while Metropolis joined the company this January.


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