This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.
A “Pop-up Picnic” festival planned for South Derbyshire has been cancelled after objections from the council and police.
The festival had been planned by Case Live Limited and was due to take place at Royle Farm in Caldwell Road, Drakelow from Tuesday, July 28 until Sunday, August 2.
It would have included hundreds of people sitting in scores of “bubbles” three metres away from each other.
However, South Derbyshire District Council’s environmental health officer said the event could not be permitted under current Covid-19 restrictions.
Alongside this, Derbyshire police said social distancing would be “impossible to manage and/or enforce”.
A licensing meeting was due to be held by the council today to thrash out the details of the case for and against the event.
This meeting was cancelled after Case Live withdrew its plans following objections from the council and police.
Toby Darvill, Case Live director, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that it was a “shame” the festival had to be called off.
He said that other local authorities had approved the same festivals in their patch and “can’t understand” why those in South Derbyshire were opposed.
Mr Darvill confirmed that the Drakelow event had been cancelled but that he aimed to reschedule for next year – while the festival would continue at half a dozen sites around the country.
He said: “We certainly wanted to bring the event up there (to South Derbyshire) but the local authorities are just not wanting it at all. They are asking us to throw a lot of money at it.
(Image: Case Entertainment Group)
“They don’t want it to run on a temporary event notice even though we are fine to do that within the law.
“We are allowed to do it in other areas within the law so we don’t really understand why they (the district council) are doing that.
“We don’t have time to be arguing with them.”
He said events in Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire; Bicester in Oxfordshire; Elmbridge in Surrey; Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, are all going ahead and that an event in Cambridge is also set for approval. Others are also in the planning process
Mr Darvill said: “We were told we can’t do live entertainment in front of a live audience but we have documentation which says that that is just indoor venues.
“We can have over 30 people outside as long as we are following all the Covid regulations. It is very similar to how shops and restaurants will have to operate.
“We just wanted to bring something to the local community, bring money into the local community and create temporary employment for people who have lost their jobs and support local companies who have lost money due to the pandemic.
“As a tour we are creating 40 jobs and then plenty of artists and local vendors – the local economy could have benefited.
“I don’t think unfair is the right word but I don’t understand their reasoning when other local authorities have not presented them to us.”
The festival had been due to run for six days and from 11am to 11pm each day and could have seen up to 499 people (including event staff) gathering at the site daily.
Aine O’Brien, the district council’s environmental health officer, had written in response to the application: “As it is not allowable under current public health legislation to run an outdoor music venue, we are unable to assess whether the submitted general Covid-19 risk assessment is suitable and sufficient.”
As a result, she has objected on public safety grounds.
Police licensing officer Gareth Fowler had based the force’s objection on all four licensing categories – preventing crime and disorder; public nuisance; public safety; and protecting children from harm.
He said the proposed festival does not provide “any evidence” to show how the firm would help mitigate these risks and this alone is enough to object to it taking place outside of the “parallel threat that is the current Covid-19 pandemic”.
PC Fowler found fault with the event management plan submitted by Case Live to support its application – which the firm says is a “working document not designed for this specific site”.
He had said: “There are no details as to how many bars, bands, artists or concessions will be utilised at the site over the six days of operations.”
A diagram of the proposed festival layout shows the entrance to the site stemming off to the right of the Royle Farm Industrial Estate access road through a series of fields.
On the event showground there are 171 “bubbles” marked out for attendees which are three metres wide and spaced three metres apart from each other.
It also shows six concessions stands but says this layout is to be confirmed once suppliers are agreed.