IT’S off - Fenland’s first music festival due to be staged this Saturday (August 27) has been cancelled after promoter Matthew Broadfield was slapped with a £13,000 bill for security.
Mr Broadfield has promised people can have a refund on tickets purchased, or if they prefer they can hold on to their tickets and attend next year’s event.
He claims to be £15,000 out of pocket but said his experience this year will stand him in good stead when it comes to organising a festival for this time next year.
“I got hit with a £13,000 after the licence conditions were imposed at the start of August by the event team, the security firm added another £1,000 on top of that - I feel because they knew they had to be there as part of the conditions,” said Mr Broadfield, who added he had tried to negotiate a lower charge, but without success and the company withdrew from the event altogether on Tuesday (August 23).
As a result he was forced to cancel the event as conditions of the licence granted just a fortnight ago stipulated the security firm and events team Mr Broadfield had hired and were at the licensing hearing with him had to be at the festival managing the operation.
“I spoke to Chief Inspector Mick Gipp and said I could get another security firm and team together, but he said I couldn’t do that because they were part of the licensing conditions and so on legal advice from my solicitor I have had to cancel,” said Mr Broadfield, who would not confirm exactly how many tickets had actually been sold - although he admitted it was a lot less than 1,000.
He added: “I am gutted to be honest. But it was just not viable to pay out £13,000 for security. Now I’m having to contact everyone to tell them it is off. I have paid out deposits for staging, lighting, fencing, toilets and for the artists and I’m hoping that most of that can be rolled over to next year.
“I’m planning to start organising next year’s festival straight away and will be applying for a licence before the end of the year so everything is in place well in advance.”
Mr Broadfield said this year’s experience had been a ‘steep learning curve’ and admitted he had been ‘naive’ about the costs and complications of organising a major event aimed at attracting up to 3,500.
“I was completely naive to be honest with you. I have overcome a lot of problems put in front of me. I certainly didn’t set out to rip people off, I wanted to do something good for the area and it hasn’t worked out,” said Mr Broadfield, who said anyone wanting a refund on their ticket should contact him through his business in Broad Street, March or by phone on 01354-650001.