Branson to expand V fest circuit

Entrepreneur targets Italy, Spain and Australia

LONDON — Billionaire music entrepreneur Richard Branson is launching versions of the highly successful V Festival around the world in an attempt to cash in on the growing popularity of live music events.

Branson’s Virgin group of companies sponsors the twin V Festival in England’s Staffordshire and Chelmsford and he says he now wants to take that concept around the world.

Among the countries he is targeting are Italy, Spain and Australia, while he is also looking at South America to make V the biggest festival brand in the world.

V Festival made its debut in Canada last weekend when it touched down at Toronto’s Island Park with acts such as The Flaming Lips, Gnarls Barkley, Muse, The Strokes, Broken Social Scene and The Raconteurs providing the entertainment.

The festival visits Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course on Sept. 23, where The Who and Red Hot Chili Peppers have been confirmed as headliners.

“The great thing about doing it in more than one country is we can coordinate it and get the bands moving between countries,” Branson told Reuters.

“Touring will play a much greater part in the coming years. From a band’s point of view, they make more out of playing live than out of music sales.”

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