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The interview: Vince Power

Waterford’s Vince Power chats to My Waterford about his hugely succesful music career, family and looking to the future...


aterford born Vince Power was one of the biggest music promoters in Europe

and a self-made millionaire in the early 00’s but 5 years ago he lost it all when his company went into administration. Now, as he faces 70, he is re-inventing himself once again. He chats to My Waterford about family and festivals.

If you have been to one of the many music

festivals across Ireland or the rest of Europe over the last 20 years, chances are that you have Vince Power to thank for some part of your experience. Born into a large family in Waterford in 1947 Vince passed up the opportunity of a place in agricultural college, training to be an artificial inseminator, to find his fortune in London at the age of 16. At 18 he had his own business and by his 30’s he was a mogul in the live music industry. Glastonbury, Benicassim, The Mean Fiddler, Fleadh Mor, he brought Irish traditional music to the diaspora in the UK, he even brought Ray Charles to Tramore. “I have always wanted to do stuff. I haven’t always done it right and I haven’t always made money on it but I have always wanted


to do it” he says when I speak to him in his London home. He definitely did things, things that others wouldn’t dream of trying. Some worked and others didn’t. But his drive for success and self-belief seem to have been his greatest asset and his downfall. “I came from a very poor background and the will and determination to get on and make something out of my life came from that. I grew up in Ballyshunnock near Kilmacthomas in a very big family, like most Irish families in the 60’s. I went to school in Newtown and then Dungarvan technical school for a short time. I moved to England when I was just 16 and I have been here ever since really. I worked in various different factories and shops and I then started working for myself as a furniture dealer when I was 18. I got married at 19 and I had three children by the time I was 21. I grew my business but I was getting bored in the furniture business. Then in the 80’s I went to Nashville and I was totally taken in by the music scene over there and that is where I got inspired to open what they called

At 18 he had

his own business and by his 30’s he was a mogul in the live music industry...

a Honky Tonk, an old spit on the sawdust floor type bar in Harlesden. It was a disaster at first but then it took off and it became a famous music venue” (The Mean Fiddler.) “The first festival I started was Reading in ‘89 and that was an old fashioned festival which had been around since the 70’s and it had really stupid things that would not be acceptable now, like all the so-called VIP’s were right in front of the stage and then 100 metres back were the paying punters. The beer was warm, the food was just burgers and sausages and the toilets were bad. So I went to a couple of festivals, like Roskilde in Denmark which was way ahead, they had a launderette and a church and I thought, this is the way to do it. We changed the change-over of the stages and we brought in multiple stages all around the venue. At the time it just seemed like the sensible thing to do but looking back we changed the way festivals were run, and now festivals are

everywhere. That’s because it’s one of

the only ways that artists can make money as there is no money in recording anymore. So

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