March 9 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Organisers of the Audley End Picnic Concerts have refused to rule out a ban on picnics at future, as yet unconfirmed, events.
Last week, the Reporter exclusively revealed that the Modfather Paul Weller had been lined up to kick-off the popular open-air gigs on Saturday, July 26.
But excitement turned to anger when fans realised picnics, a much-loved pastime and one of the main draws of the event, would not be allowed.
Promoters Portal Events Ltd would not confirm or deny whether this ban was likely to be in place for other concerts in the grounds of Uttlesford’s popular stately home.
It only became clear when Portal Events officially confirmed The Jam star’s appearance in an announcement last Friday.
Picnic concert fans took to the Audley End Concerts Facebook page to air their frustrations.
Bronwen Woods wrote: “I am appalled that you have decided to change the format of the concert by not allowing us to bring our picnics. Picnics and concerts go hand in hand at Audley End. I shall be boycotting this concert unless, of course, you change your policy.”
Another Facebook user, Melissa Rigby, said: “I agree with Bronwen, it seems such a shame as the picnic part really makes a day of it. Let’s hope it’s only the Paul Weller concert that follows this format.”
A spokesman from Portal Events Ltd told the Reporter: “We have to be flexible with arrangements for all concerts in order to secure the acts that we are after and that Audley End House and Gardens deserves.
“With each act comes different access times, production requirements, sound check needs and health and safety issues.
“All this considered, for the Paul Weller show on July 26, we have decided to run this one with no picnics or drinks allowed into the concert arena.
“It is not to say it will be the same for every show as a classical show, for example, is a totally different event.
“There is also no reason why patrons can’t come and enjoy a picnic in the beautiful grounds of Audley End House and Gardens before being allowed in the concert arena.”
In Portal Events’ official announcement last week, the company said: “Please note that for this concert no glass, picnics or alcohol may be brought into the concert arena.”