THE PARTY’S ON

FENLAND’S first music festival will go ahead later this month after an 11th hour decision to grant a licence.

Promoter Matthew Broadfield, who along with his team of advisers was given a thorough grilling at a licensing hearing today (Thursday), said afterwards: “I am enormously pleased. It is such a relief, I have felt like I have had a clamp on my head for the last few months.”

Now Mr Broadfield, who was told the licence was largely granted because of the team of advisers and experts he has appointed to help run the event, hopes local people will support the festival.

He said ticket sales have been steady on the internet but had not gone so well locally and he blamed the question mark over the festival going-ahead for people’s reluctance to pay for tickets.

“Hopefully now we have the licence and everything is in place we will get local people supporting the event. I really want people locally to come and enjoy what should be a good day,” said Mr Broadfield.

Police had objected to an events licence being granted to Mr Broadfield claiming there were numerous question marks over the organisation of the 3,500 capacity festival to be held at the auction ground in Knights End Road.

March Sector Commander Inspector Rob Hill told Thursday’s reconvened hearing at Fenland Hall: “We are three weeks away from the event and we are still getting changes to the paper work. We need to have a master plan in place so I can plan my resources.”

He had previously branded the proposed event a licensed rave and said it was likely to attract a large crowd with artists such as former Blue band member Simon Webbe, garage duo Artful Dodger, DJ Luck and MC Neat lined up to perform.

He said people, who were likely to become intoxicated at the site, were likely to walk across a main road to town causing risk of injury and a likely nuisance to road users.

Concerns over possible annoyance and noise disturbance to residents living in nearby residential areas were also raised.

The original hearing was adjourned for a week to give Mr Broadfield and his team a chance to get completed paperwork to the Licensing Authority and to prove that everything needed to ensure public safety was in place.

Clive Doyle, who has been appointed as the event’s co-ordinator, said the paper work was as complete as it could be and gave his personal assurance that the safety of everyone attending was his personal priority and responsibility.

He said the security team has a vast level of experience and is used to working with groups of people attending far bigger events including major pop festivals, top flight football matches and Formula One.

Mr Doyle said he would be in the security hub throughout the event co-ordinating the team and ensuring everything runs smoothly.

After listening to both sides the Licensing Panel chaired by Cllr Michael Humphrey took almost two hours to decide to grant the licence subject to a raft of conditions.

These included Mr Broadfield increasing his public liability insurance to a minimum of £10million, a reduction in the hours for alcohol sales from 8pm to 6pm and for revellers to leave the site within four hours of the festival ending.