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Y Not? saviour vows to return festival to its roots

25 June 2019

RADIO GIANT Global, whose stations include Capital, LBC and Classic FM, has divested itself of it’s last festival, as it exits the live music sector.

Having distributed all but one of its festival portfolio between Broadwick Live and Superstruct (see LIVE UK issue 232), Y Not? (cap. 29,000) has been taken over by new company JO Worldwide (JOW), headed by sole director Jason John Oakley,

Three companies linked to the Derbyshire event have been acquired by Oakley – Y Not Festivals Ltd, Count of Ten Ltd (COT), and Brownstock Ltd, believed to have organised the Brownstock Festival (8,000) which last ran in 2016. 

COT was the multi-festival parent company purchased by Global in 2016, whose former assets Tramlines (40,000) and Truck (10,000) are now part of Superstruct.

Oakley tells LIVE UK that he helped Y Not? founder Ralph Broadbent (no longer involved) launch the first event, joining full-time in 2011 to 
run the bars, event management plans, and site health and safety, eventually becoming head of operations for eight events throughout the UK. 

“My entire focus at the moment is putting on a fantastic, cost effective experience that ensures the safety of the festival-goers,” he says. 

Y Not?, of which Oakley now owns a 79 per cent share has had a troubled history since its Sunday was rained off in 2017. 

Although the most recent published accounts show Y Not Festivals Ltd made profits of about £840,000 up to March 2018, and about £927,000 the previous year, Brownstock Ltd showed a loss of £317,000 in 2017 and a profit of £14,632 in 2018 (despite not hosting a festival of that name that year). Count of Ten Ltd posted losses of £1,555,172 in 2017 and £241,401 in 2018. 

Oakley declines to state the financial terms of the acquisition or the identity of his fellow shareholder or shareholders, and says he has no plan to resurrect Brownstock.

“I am much better placed [than the former owners] to get the event back to its roots,” he says. “I have a wealth of local contacts, being from the area myself, and I plan to use these to get back to a more rustic, quirky, fresh event that doesn’t follow the same pattern of most festivals in 
the country.”

Headliners this year include Elbow, Two Door Cinema Club and The Foals. Tickets cost £139.50.

It was only four years ago that Global burst into the festival scene, rapidly becoming the second largest festival-owner in the counry, at a cost of £75.86 million in the financial year ending March 2017 alone. 

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