Reading Festival gets all clear

Mean Fiddler boss says it will dry out

Reading Festival gets all clear

27 July 2007

With just five weeks to go, Mean Fiddler's Melvin Benn has given the festival the all clear despite parts of the site still underwater.

Around a third of what will be the main campsite was left submerged after the River Thames burst its banks, and around 15 per cent will be unuseable when the festival starts on 24 August.

But the three-day rock festival will definitely go ahead, according to Benn. Speaking to the Reading Evening Post, he said: "There is no question. Reading Festival will go ahead but I will have to look at some serious reconfiguration of the site arrangements."

"I am sure this flood water will subside fairly quickly – we have seen it like this in the past. It was very wet in 2003."

Contingency plans include a new campsite on land on the other side of the Thames at Mapledurham, with a ferry carrying fans to and from the arena. Site operators are due on return to the Little Johns Farm site next week to prepare the event. 

Ironically, the flooding looks to be good news for Reading Festival's long term future. Owners of the site recently put it up for sale but it cannot be used for development due to its likelihood to flood. Mean Fiddler is debating whether to stump up the estimated £5m or negotiate a new lease deal with any buyer.

Benn added that WOMAD festival made a lucky escape by relocating to a new home in Wiltshire. With the event taking place this weekend it would have almost certainly been cancelled.

Reading Festival takes place at Little Johns Farm, Reading, from 24-26 August, featuring Razorlight, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Smashing Pumpkins, Bloc Party, Arcade Fire and many more.

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