Vince Power, one of the key figures behind the evolution of the UK festival industry, died aged 76 on Saturday, 9 March.

Power set up his first live music venue, the Mean Fiddler, in London’s Harlesden in 1982. Subsequent decades saw him rise to become one of the live music industry’s biggest players, gaining a wealth of experience that saw him presented with a CBE for ‘services to music’ in 2006.

Born in County Waterford, Ireland, in 1947, Power moved to London aged 15, and went on to build the Mean Fiddler Music Group (MFMG) into a live music empire. Among the venues opened by Mean Fiddler were London’s Subterania (1989), The Jazz Cafe (1992), The Forum (1993) and The Garage (1993).

In 1989, Power reinvigorated the Reading Festival before going on to launch its sister event in Leeds. He set up Phoenix Festival in 1993, a four-day event at Long Marston Airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon, with headliners of the first event including Sonic Youth, Hole and Faith No More.

The promoter was also behind the launch of Irish music event Fleadh. Acts such as Neil Young and Sting were among the headliners that joined the largely Irish lineup in London’s Finsbury Park over the festival’s 14 years in action, during which the Fleadh festival built a strong reputation and proved a largely successful business proposition for Power.

Following a huge number of gatecrashers at Glastonbury in 2000, Mean Fiddler got involved in the festival and helped Michel Eavis secure a license from Mendip Council to continue with the event. The deal saw Power’s company take a 20% stake in the festival.

He went on to take a controlling stake in Spain’s Benicassim and launch the Hop Farm Festival at The Hop Farm Country Park in Paddock Wood, Kent.

In 2005, he sold his stake in Mean Fiddler to Clear Channel (later Live Nation) for a reported £39 million. Power went on to form the Vince Power Music Group, and later set up the Vince Power Music Festivals company. His more recent projects include The Liverpool Feis.

Speaking to me for an interview in Music Week in 2011, Power said, “I love festivals, there’s not much I don’t know about running them. I will always be doing something with festivals.”

Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn worked closely with Power for 20 years. As managing director of the Mean Fiddler Group, he had direct responsibility for its festivals division.

Paying tribute to Power, Benn told AAA, “Vince’s passing is a massive loss to the music industry and to me personally. A visionary with a willingness to take risks to enable his vision but always with a humbleness that belied his importance. We had an amazing 20 years together that helped shape the music industry as we know it now.”

Black Deer Festival co-founder Gill Tee was among the many others to pay tribute to Power. She was the festival director at Power’s Hop Farm Festival for five years.

Said Tee, “I learned so much in those five years, starting a festival from scratch with a man that had music flowing through his veins. We had our differences over those years, but one thing I always knew was that this man gave me so much that I will never ever forget.

“He was such an incredible man who achieved so much, and was truly a visionary.”