Bury St Edmunds: Abbeyfest 2013 given the green light

Abbeyfest in the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds

Abbeyfest in the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds

A MUSIC festival that injects an estimated £1.2million into the west Suffolk economy will go ahead, despite objections about noise and claims it is damaging an historic monument.

Licensing bosses at St Edmundsbury Borough Council today approved an application for Abbeyfest to be held in Abbey Gardens Bury St Edmunds, but said volume levels must be tightly controlled.

John Hessenthaler of O.E.P. Ltd said he hoped all people would now embrace the three-day festival and said he wanted the event to put Bury St Edmunds “on the map”.

During the hearing, Louise Perkins, whose home is inside the walls of Abbey Gardens, told the committee that last year she was subjected to “sustained amplified music” while constant vibrations meant her car and house alarm could not be set.

She added: “I ask the members of the licensing committee if they would let it (Abbeyfest) in their own village or their own road? Or if they would let their own aged relative or own children be kept awake in their beds for three continuous days?”

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Mrs Perkins, who the panel were told, received free tickets to the event in 2011, said she wanted to see the festival move to a less-residential venue such as Nowton Park.

She also asked the licensing committee to consider shortening the festival to two, rather than three days, and moving a stage away from the remains of St Edmund’s Abbey.

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During a ten-minute presentation, Mrs Perkins said that following last year’s event more than 100 flints had fallen from parts of the Abbey and surrounding walls.

The committee was told that another objection from the council’s environmental health had been withdrawn, following a meeting with the applicant where a noise management plan was drawn up.

Mr Hessenthaler, who said he hoped to expand the event to include classical music and children’s entertainment, said council officers had been on site monitoring music levels at last year’s festival.

The concert promoter said: “We are not a drain on resources, the council, police, we have SIA standard security, I guess I’m merely trying to expand this festival so it put Bury on the map.”

Mr Hessenthaler said that Abbeyfest 2013, which runs from July 19 to July 21, would not feature rock acts, but softer performances from folk artists and the likes of seventies 10CC who will headline Sunday.

The committee, chaired by Sarah Broughton, said the application had been approved, subject to nine conditions set out in the noise management plan. These included the proviso that live music did not exceed 65 decibels when measured at a distance of one metre from any residential property outside the Abbey Garden’s walls.

For tickets and full line up see http://www.abbeyfest.net/

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