Dateline: 12th December 2002 6pm-11pm. Mendip District Council tonight weighed up the future of Glastonbury Festival 2003. The gates opened at 6pm...and we kept you posted throughout the night.
[l-zone1]Micheal Eavis arrived promptly at 6pm at the Mendip District Council Regulatory Board license hearing tonight. He was cautiously optimistic as he gave a short preliminary press briefing before the start of proceedings.
Given the success of last years security measures and the feeling that most of the key authorities have subsequently relaxed their major reservations over the ability of the festival organisers to control numbers on the site we hope that this optimism is going to be well founded.
The night promises to be a long one for everyone concerned, but as we receive any news of the proceedings we’ll be amongst the first to publish them here.
====> The application is for an increase in numbers. This is as expected and commented on by us for some time. 2003 will see 150,000 people permitted into the site if the application goes through as is to be hoped.
====> No initial objections have been raised by the first few agencies and organisations who have been given the opportunity to comment on the application – this includes the fire and ambulance services and the local Parish Councils.
====> Glastonbury Festivals case is put forward in a presentation by Mark Cann. His central point regarding the security issues is that 2002 showed everyone that the new measures had clearly worked. What resulted was a situation were the focus of the police became the situation outside the perimeter fence as a large number of people found that they had no way in. It is hoped that this effect will lessen in 2003 as the message will be clearly understood that ‘no ticket, no entry’ means exactly what it says on the tin… The overall message however will be one of ‘no ticket, no festival!‘ What the organisers want to get across is the basic concept that if people keep turning up without tickets and causing local problems outside the site then this is what is most likely to jeapordise the future of what is now a well organised and managed event inside the fences.
====>Mark made a range of points concenrning upgrades to the arrangements for 2003. These included:-
– the usual (hush-hush) change to pass-out rules
– 33% more security (mainly outside the fence)
– better urinals (so less stream polution we hope)
– reduction in unauthorised fireworks (all the banging will have to be inside your tents next year)
– less litter (well, more litter pickers)
– smoother dispersal of people leaving the site on Monday morning (unless you are a trader – you’ll get held back to let campers off more easily…)
– more secure site for camper vans (and a seperate access)
– additional policing paid for by the Festival (over and above the recommendations)
====>With all of this said, there were of course then a range of objections from locals, although the local Avon & Somerset Police did seem a lot less disposed to make a case against the licence this time around. The meeting adjourned briefly before locals could have a more formal say about matters.
,====> The local objections revolve largely around crime outside the site, and these views are repeated by several spokespeople. The local campaign has clearly been put together in advance. Residents are told not to go over old ground that has previously been covered, so each one makes points from pre-prepared notes. They also cite a small part of the Crime and Disorder Act which they feel is relevant. Under Section 17 they believe that Mendip DC would be breaking the law by granting the licence. The Council’s own legal advice is that this isn’t the case, and the fact that the police state that they believe they can adequately control matters both inside and outside the event should put paid to this objection.
====> The vote on the licence follows immediately after this debate, however each member of the Committee is given a chance to air thie individual views on the subject prior to the actual vote, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the issue will be very close, as there are both positive and negative opinions being aired by the members.
====> THE VOTE IS 5 TO 4 – AND THE LICENCE HAS BEEN REFUSED!!!!
This is not the end of matters. An appeal will certainly be lodged by Glastonbury Festivals, however the event clearly hangs very much in the balance as of this time.
====> Quite incredibly the punch-drunk Micheal Eavis is finally ‘invited’ by the Committee (following another 5-4 vote) to put in another application ‘perhaps for another site!!’ Luckily he had left the room briefly following the first vote – otherwise he would no doubt have laughed out loud at this suggestion…
This saga will now go to the local Magistrates Court for a judical view. Micheal Eavis made a brief statement at the end of the night to say that this would certainly be the case. The festival has always won at appeal, and the application for 2003 shouldn’t be any different. We can only pray that the non-partisan views of an independent hearing will see justice done and Glastonbury 2003 open its gates as everyone so fervently hopes will be the case.
….just remember that you read tthis here first!