Fear over three-day music festival in Great Chesterford

PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 July 2010

FEARS are growing that a planned three-day music festival on Great Chesterford farmland, which could attract 1500 revellers, will put neighbouring properties at risk.

Organiser Muddy Promotions is set to apply to Uttlesford District Council for a license to hold The Grassroots Festival at Field Farm from September 3 to September 5.

Tickets for the event, which are priced at £69 for the weekend, are already on sale despite the fact that the organiser has not yet secured approval for its plans.

Chairman of Great Chesterford Parish Council, Joanna Francis, said that councillors were split about whether to give their backing to the festival.

“The parish council does have a number of serious concerns about this event,” she said. “It poses a huge fire risk to an area where there are many fields which will have just been harvested or are being prepared for harvest. One stray cigarette could put lives at risk and cause financial ruin for farmers.

“There is also concern about trespass onto neighbouring farms and properties which could cause a lot of distress and damage. People in Great Chesterford still have memories of the illegal rave which took place in 2006 and have seen what can happen if things go wrong.”

If the festival gets the go-ahead, organisers have said music and events would start at midday and finish at midnight on Friday, 1am on Saturday and midnight on Sunday. With festival goers, crew and artists there could be as many as 2500 people on the site.

In a letter to people living near to Field Farm, Muddy Promotions said: “We appreciate that some residents may have concerns about potential noise or nuisance issues and would like the chance to meet and explain in some detail the actions we have taken to ensure that you and your properties will be guarded from these issues.

It added: “This is the first event of its kind in the area but our third Grassroots Festival. We have an exemplary record for incident-free festivals and have always worked together with local communities to bring celebration of music, art and food that could be enjoyed by young and old.

“We will be giving free weekend passes to all neighbouring properties within 1km of the festival site and also be offering local villagers preferential tickets to encourage locals to come along and enjoy the event.”

The festival is billed as a family event with six stages catering for everything from world music to folk, poetry, cabaret, reggae and electronic beats. The event culminates with a huge communal banquet on Sunday afternoon.

Do you think the council should let the festival be held in Great Chesterford? Let us know by emailing editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk.

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