Hop Farm founder banned from staging live music events

Vince Power

Hop Farm festival founder Vince Power has been banned from staging live music by the High Court in London.

It is after the Irish promoter was found to have been hosting events without a proper licence.

Performing Rights Society for Music (PRS) claims Hop Farm did not have copyright to play live music at the events between 2009 and 2012.

Vince Power says he never received any correspondence from PRS and that the claims are damaging to his career.

Power set up the Mean Fiddler club in London and ran Hop Farm in Kent between 2008 and 2012.

A spokesperson from PRS for Music said: "A licence is required for any event except a family or domestic gathering, such as a wedding reception or birthday party."

PRS for Music, a non-profit making organisation which collects licence fees for public performances and then distributes the money among composers and publishers, issued a written order against Power.

The 67-year-old failed to file a defence, so the judge made the order in his absence.

Florence and the Machine
Image caption Florence and the Machine is among the acts to have played at Hop Farm Festival in Paddock Wood, Kent

In addition to banning Power from playing music in public until he brings his licences up to date, the judge also ordered the promoter to pay £7,987 in legal costs run up by PRS.

If Power does not obey the ban, he could face contempt of court which could mean extra costs and a possible prison sentence.

According to court documents, 31 PRS members performed at the 2009 festival; at least 10 in 2010, at least 27 in 2011 and at least 31 in 2012.

I am angry and disappointed that PRS have not contacted me by post, email or telephone. To say that I am banned from staging live music events for the sake of 7k, is damaging to my career
Vince Power

Vince Power has denied receiving any correspondence from PRS about the outstanding payment and says he was "surprised" to read about them on the Newsbeat website.

He says that if there was any money outstanding to PRS, it would have been dealt with by the administrators for Music Festivals PLC, which went into administration in October 2012.

He says PRS was notified about the change.

In a statement on the Hop Farm Music Festival Facebook page, Power said: "I am angry and disappointed that PRS have not contacted me by post, email or telephone.

"To say that I am banned from staging live music events for the sake of 7k, is damaging to my career.

"In light of the long strained relationship I have with them, I can only see this as PRS being vindictive and a means of deflection for what I see as the real problem within PRS.

"They have a long list of artists that are owed money which they do not pay.

"I am very happy for any artists who have been chasing PRS unsuccessfully to contact me to see if there is a way we can group together and get the money they are owed."

Last year's festival was cancelled because of poor ticket sales, but Vince Power said he had nothing to do with that event after it was "hijacked by another promoter, which used all previous Hop Farm logos and databases".

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