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Sziget Festival: New Owner, The Same Management. What will change?

A few days ago an interesting piece of news hit the specialty press: the owners of Sziget Cultural Management, the company behind Sziget Festival, VOLT, and Balaton Sound, among others,  have sold 70% of their participation in the event to Providence Equity Partners, a global asset management company, IQ-Mag writes. The amount which changed hands wasn’t disclosed at this time.

The new majority owners have big plans for the festival: the news speak about an “international expansion” of the Sziget Festival brand, among others. To this end, James Barton, former president of Electronic Music for Live Nation and Creamfields Festival founder, and Paul Bedford, former financial director of Cream Group, have joined the team of Sziget.

Sziget Festival: Under the same management (with some changes)

Most of the managers behind the event have remained in place, as the current team has retained a 30% equity in the company. Sziget Festival founder Gerendai Károly has remained in place, and so has  CEO Tamás Kádár, international operations head Gábor Takács, and Zoltán Fülöp and Norbert Lobenwein who helm VOLT and Balaton Sound, two other major events organized by the company.

According to IQ-Mag, the company’s future plans include the acquisition and creation of further events, with a daily capacity between 35,000 – 95,000. New festivals will take on the Sziget brand.

A giant leap forward

“Sziget is excited to partner with Providence as we enter our next phase of growth and development,” Gerendai said. “We received a series of inquiries from both financial and trade investors in the last couple of years, but we were attracted to Providence’s proposal because it opens new dimensions for us.

With the help of our new partners we will be able to make a giant leap forward and embark on the ambitious projects that have been in our pipeline for some time. Providence’s network and financial resources will complement our existing management team’s expertise and will put us in an even stronger position to unlock significant new growth opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to us.

We needed a financial partner to execute on several ambitious projects that we have in our pipeline. We are excited and looking forward to building the company utilising Providence’s sector experience and financial resources.”

“The Sziget team has done an incredible job in creating some of the world’s most exciting festivals and we look forward to partnering with Karoly and team in the company’s next phase of growth to accelerate Sziget’s domestic and international growth plans,” Barton added.

What changes do you expect from the new ownership?

13 thoughts on “Sziget Festival: New Owner, The Same Management. What will change?

  1. That’s really a bummer. I’ve personally seen some great festivals in the US become corporate, staged, and pretty lame due to selling out (e.g. Bonnaroo, Voodoo Music Fest, Hangout Fest to name a few). I think the Sziget of old will die a slow death.

    Anyways, I guess this explains why we don’t have any new names on the bill. Didn’t they say we should expect some ‘very soon’ after the December 15 announcement? Ugh. Money always wins, and I hate seeing my favorite festivals lose their luster.

  2. They always say that the main festival won’t be affected. But it always is. Dramatically. All I am saying is that selling out NEVER makes the festival a better festival. At least not in my experience.

    Good to know new names finally…hopefully someone from Main Stage.

  3. So, The Offspring won’t be at Sziget, as they’ll play at Fezen Festival in Hungary, at the beginning of August. 🙁

  4. @Miguel you might lose that bet, as offspring is playing Fezen (another HU fest) also in August, so it’s not possible.

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