Superstruct has acquired a controlling stake in London festivals Cross The Tracks (cap. 15,000) and the 20,000-capacity Mighty Hoopla (pictured), along with Austrian festival Snowbombing, from companies directed by Broadwick Live founder Gareth Cooper.

Despite the latest round of acquisitions meaning that Superstruct now owns more than a dozen major UK music festivals, and nearly 90 worldwide, the Association of Independent Festivals has confirmed that Superstruct meets its membership criteria of being an independent operator.

Owned by US private equity fund Providence Equity Partners, Superstruct Entertainment was founded by James Barton, the founder of Creamfields festival (70,000), and Roderik Schlosser. Superstruct has expanded rapidly in recent years, buying up controlling stakes in UK festivals including Y Not (40,000), Bluedot (21,000), Victorious Festival (100,000), Tramlines (40,000), Boardmasters (50,000), NASS (15,000), South West Four (20,000) Truck (10,000) and Kendall Calling (25,000).

Among the many mainland Europe festivals owned by Superstruct include Hungary’s 95,000-capacity Sziget, Croatian festival Hideout (15,000), Flow (10,000) in Finland and Oya (15,000) in Norway.

According to Companies House, Superstruct UK Festivals Limited has acquired a majority stake of no more than 75% in SBH Event Holdings Ltd (Snowbombing), Mighty Hoopla Ltd (Mighty Hoopla) and X The Tracks Ltd (Cross The Tracks), with Barton and Superstruct CEO Roderik Schlosser becoming directors.

Cooper and Broadwick Live MD Bradley Thompson have stepped down as directors of SBH Event Holdings, while Marcus Wheedon is among those to relinquish control of the companies responsible for the two Brockwell Park-based London festivals.

AIF CEO John Rostron said that despite the scale of Superstruct’s interests in the festival market its events can remain members of the independent festival representative body. Mighty Hoopla and Snowbombing are AIF members, along with the vast majority of Superstruct’s existing UK festivals.

Roston said, “Superstruct is a big player in the festival market but small fry in the live music ecosystem as a whole compared to Live Nation and AEG. When it comes to ownership, our major concern is those big vertically integrated global players that not only own major festivals but also venues, concert promoters, ticketing agencies, secondary ticketing agencies, management, labels, and have an interest that really gets deep into the music ecosystem.”

He explained that by AIF’s current definition of independence, all festivals Superstruct has a stake in meet its criteria: ”As a group we define what we think as independence, and we review it when required by changes in the market. That view of independence might become different in the future as the festival sector changes but the current definition that we use includes festivals that Superstruct has a stake in and excludes Live Nation and AEG.

“The difficulties our members face is with companies that have that wide integration across the sector and have the ability to make an artist an offer that means they can’t work with another promoter; they have to sell tickets to this ticketing company or have to play in these venues. Those kinds of relationships move towards monopoly, they create a stranglehold whether deliberate or not, and that impacts our members in a way that somebody owning more than one festival, or a number of festivals, doesn’t.”