A cloud of doubt has been cast over this year's Electric Picnic festival, according to this morning's Metro newspaper.

The front page carries a story that throws the future of the festival - including this year's event, which has reportedly sold out - into jeopardy, due to huge debts amassed by the promoters POD.

The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) is seeking more than €432,000 from POD for royalties from music played at the event(s), and the case was taken to the High Court yesterday.

According to the article, the court was told that "IMRO had repeatedly written to POD owner John Reynolds, asking to be paid €180,000 for music played at the Electric Picnic events held in Laois in 2004, 2005, and 2006, but was met with a range of different excuses."

It also said that the promoters hadn't provided returns for the Garden Party and Lovebox festivals of 2006 and 2007, as well as last year's EP, until February.

IMRO have now threatened to go to court to prevent future events held under the POD banner from going ahead - including Electric Picnic.

The case was adjourned for three weeks, as POD were "willing to lodge the disputed amount and allow the matter to be settled by mediation."

If all is settled, the festival will go ahead at Stradbally on August 29th, 30th and 31st.

[UPDATE, 13:05, 17/6: POD have issued a statement denying that the festival's future is in trouble, which can be read below.]

"The Electric Picnic 2008 is not in doubt or in jeopardy contrary to press and media reports over the last number of days.

POD Concerts is in dispute with IMRO over certain issues relating to the high fees charged by IMRO to it for "public performance" of music which are in addition to the fees paid to the artists to perform. IMRO is seeking to charge POD Concerts for performances from non-music artists involved in the Electric Picnic.

POD Concerts have been in longstanding discussions with IMRO about the issues, however IMRO has recently chosen to issue proceedings rather than mediate the disagreement. IMRO had previously refused payment from POD Concerts of the amounts now in dispute.

IMRO has not sought an injunction against Electric Picnic 2008 or any other music events promoted by POD Concerts pending a decision in the case.

In addition, in the meantime, the High Court has agreed with POD Concerts' offer to pay the disputed fees into a holding account, and POD Concerts has confirmed that it will pay IMRO's fees for Electric Picnic 2008 and so will be fully entitled to stage the event.

Recognising POD Concerts' request to discuss the issues with IMRO rather than litigate, the High Court has ordered IMRO to mediate the dispute before it will hear its case."