Music festival snubbed by council

THE organiser of a three-day live country music festival is holding urgent talks to save the event after he was refused permission to hold it near Woodbridge.

Richard Smith

THE organiser of a three-day live country music festival is holding urgent talks to save the event after he was refused permission to hold it near Woodbridge.

The festival is scheduled to take place on August 29, 30 and 31 at Easton Farm Park.

But Suffolk Coastal District Council refused to grant a licence for the Maverick Music Festival after objections from villagers in Easton and Letheringham.


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This is a major setback for musician Paul Spencer, a former drummer with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band and film producer.

He is in a country rock/blues band which has played the music festival at Hacheston, and he wanted to bring together famous American country music groups to perform for 3,000 people at a three-day event.

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Mr Spencer said yesterday: ''I am looking at all the options and I have not decided which one to take - but cancellation is not one of those options.''

Mr Spencer stressed he had strong local links with the area and therefore he fully recognised his responsibilities to ensuring the festival was well-run.

He is an Easton parish councillor, chairman of governors of Easton Primary School and has lived in the village for 20 years.

The aim was to hold a festival which would appeal to more mature people, similar to the Cambridge Folk Festival, and include performances by youngsters.

However, the council dismissed his application for the festival to run from 7pm to 11.30pm on the Friday, 11am to 11.30pm on Saturday and 10.30am to 1.30pm on Sunday. Camping for 500 tents was also proposed and Mr Spencer had agreed to stop amplified outdoor music at 6pm.

Numerous objectors warned the council's licensing and health sub committee of their concerns and councillors were told that at a public meeting in Easton attended by 51 people there had been 31 people against the festival.

Objectors were worried about Mr Spencer's lack of experience of staging a festival, the number of stewards, the safety of children, the amount of traffic on narrow roads and the fear that this festival would set a precedent.

There was also concern there would be inadequate facilities for camping, intrusive noise and inadequate policing.

''The sub committee had been minded to consider granting the application with an earlier finish time for outside music, but felt that resolution would increase the risk of potential crime and disorder, public safety and public nuisance due to there being insufficient activities on site for attendees to participate in which may cause people to disperse into the locality,'' said the minutes of the licensing hearing.

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