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V Festival is out in the market for a headline sponsor. The news, revealed by the organiser on its Facebook page, follows on from the withdrawal of Virgin after 22 years.

In a statement, Richard Branson said Virgin was “proud” to have sponsored V Festival for the past two decades. “Being part of V Festival has been an honour and there are some amazing moments that will stay with me forever – including introducing Paul Weller and welcoming V2 Records’ first signing The Stereophonics to a massive audience.”

Branson added: “Who would have thought that an idea to sell cut-price mail-order records would grow into a record label, let alone a unique music festival – and so much else besides? We wish Live Nation every success with their future plans. We would like to thank them for a brilliant partnership over recent years.”

Twin event

Launched in 1996 at Hylands Park (Chelmsford), V Festival expanded to Stafford three years later after Leeds Festival took over the original Temple Newsam home. The twin event  has been staged at both sites by Live Nation in partnership with SJM, Metropolis and MCD, and promoted by Festival Republic.

Melvin Benn, Festival Republic MD, told Music Week the event in 2018 will be staged on the same weekend in August with plans to expand from two to three days at both sites. He said that the announcement of the rebrand and further details on the event will be released in the coming weeks.

Speaking about the format, Benn said the festival will continue to have a pop and dance focus.

Live Nation, parent company of Festival Republic, acquired a stake in the annual events in 2013 via its LN-Gaiety joint-venture.