Family-friendly Somerset festival cancelled after licence revoked
- Credit: Sedgemoor District Council
A family-friendly music festival in Somerset has been cancelled after its temporary licence was revoked.
Stephen Fowell applied for a temporary event licence (TEN) to hold the ‘Party in my Field’ Festival on September 11 at Wick Farm in Lympham, between Burnham-on-Sea and Weston-super-Mare.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary lodged a formal objection to the licence, criticising the lack of notice given and the lack of detail over access to the site.
Sedgemoor District Council’s licensing panel voted on August 31 to revoke the licence – meaning the event can no longer go ahead.
The festival was originally due to be staged at Fordgate near Bridgwater, but Mr Fowell told the panel he had chosen to relocate to Wick Farm following traffic concerns and local feedback.
He said: “Originally this event was planned to be held in my field at Fordgate.
“We started to put together an event management plan for that site, but came up against strong local objections, which I took into account.”
- 1 PICTURES: Pub relaunches following major transformation
- 2 From cleaning windows to playing for Ashton & Backwell - Coleman's story
- 3 Second school site gets approval despite opposition
- 4 Wildlife expert joins Portishead Arts Festival line-up
- 5 Clevedon's home match with Gordano will be 'hugely proud moment' for Owen
- 6 WIN: Tickets to Oasis concert screening at Clevedon's Curzon Cinema
- 7 Huge housing extension planned for North Somerset town
- 8 Ashton & Backwell United progress in FA Vase after win at Stonehouse Town
- 9 Children encouraged to take up Covid jab
- 10 Hotel and wedding venue has seen business surge over summer
“It is for 490 people, including all staff. My band, The Leylines, played the Somerset Tractor and Cider Festival there in August – everything ran there as it should have done.
“We knew this was a good site, and we have full permission from the farmer.
“We are surrounded by people who have done this sort of thing many times over the years. I honestly believe that heat we can provide a safe, secure and successful event.”
At the time of the hearing, 300 tickets for the event had already been sold – though the police claimed the event was still being advertised as taking place at the Fordgate venue.
Police licensing officer Nicola Cooper was deeply critical of Mr Fowell’s proposals, alleging he had not given sufficient notice for the event management plan to be properly scrutinised.
She said: “We have only had three days to assess this event, and the plan was not forthcoming.
“If you had liaised with these other festival organisers, they would have told you about the process. The plan has come through very late in the day and we therefore cannot mediate.
“Looking at the plans in the very short amount of time I’ve had this morning, there are still a lot of things missing. I can’t find ‘Party In My Field’ advertised here, only at Fordgate.
“There is no detail of emergency ingress in and out of the field. As soon as I start looking at plans which are inaccurate, that causes me some concern.
“We haven’t got time to be to-ing and fro-ing with plans which should have been in place back in May.”
Constable Tracey Jones, from the North Sedgemoor beat team, added: “It’s very difficult to manage antisocial behaviour and noise levels when the neighbours aren’t aware.
“If you have an emergency and you have to evict everyone, the road onto which you will be evicting them has bends on it and no street lighting.
“Drunk people and vehicles on the road with no lighting don’t mix.”
Mr Fowell defended his decision not to advertise the planned change in venue, citing the need to sell a sufficient number of tickets to ensure the show could go ahead.
He said: “We don’t want to announce anything to anyone until we know where we stand. We have a venue change and a line-up change to announce, since two of the bands couldn’t make it.
“Most of the people who have bought tickets are fans of my band or the other bands playing.”
After around half an hour’s deliberation in confidential session, the panel announced it would revoke the TEN licence – meaning the festival cannot go ahead and all tickets will need to be refunded.
Councillor Polly Costello, who chaired the hearing, stated: “The application fails to demonstrate that sufficient thought, preparation and consultation had taken place.
“The police were still able to identify significant discrepancies and shortcomings. The applicant’s support was brought on board too late in the day.
“While we believe Mr Fowell is genuine in his desire to present a safe, secure and controlled event, this plan fails to promote the licensing objectives.”