Friday, 14 May 2021

Controversial music festival called off due to pandemic

A MUSIC festival in Gallowstree Common has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Around the Boundary was due to take place for the third year running at the recreation ground, off The Hamlet, on bank holiday Sunday, May 24.

However, following the Government’s advice to avoid mass gatherings in order to halt the spread of the disease, organisers have opted to cancel the event.

Caroline Aldridge, who chairs Kidmore End Parish Council, said the organisers might arrange next year’s festival “in a more professional manner”. She was referring to criticism of the event by residents who claimed it attracted antisocial behaviour and was not “community-driven” and called on the council to stop the event if their concerns were ignored.

Councillor Iain Pearson, who chairs the playing fields committee, which is responsible for the recreation ground, said the comment was “below the belt”.

“I think they have actually gone about it in a very professional manner,” he said.

Cllr Aldridge acknowledged that the organisers had secured insurance and a licence but implied the residents’ concerns could have been handled more effectively.

The residents had claimed that local people were not consulted about the event and it had grown in size each year. They were also upset about the volume of sound and the number of cars in the village and were unsure about who received proceeds.

The festival is run by and in aid of Kidmore End Cricket Club and the Chris Bevington Foundation, which funds projects that use music to improve the lives of children and young people. The organisers insisted music was always within permitted levels, attendants directed traffic and proceeds supported the cricket club and ensured the pavilion and grounds were maintained. They also said volunteers from the club and wider community gave up their time to support the event.

Cllr Pearson said the organisers had been asked to ensure that in future the noise levels are monitored, residents of The Hamlet are notified of the event in writing, the names of charities that benefit are clearly stated and the playing fields committee is asked for permission to hold the event.

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