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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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New Aspatria festival gets thumbs up

A new music festival in Aspatria has been given the go ahead – and organisers will put on buses to help people get home.

toploader 1804
HEADLINERS: Toploader, from left, Rob Green, Joseph Washburn, Matt Knight and Dan Hipgrave

Sealy Spyatstock, which will take place from July 18 to 20, is being held at Aspatria Rugby Union club following a smaller trial event in the club last year.

It will take the weekend usually occupied by CockRock and be headlined by 1990s band Toploader.

A planned campsite has been scrapped and ticket numbers reduced from 2,500 to 1,500 in response to concerns.

Police objected to the organisers’ licence application, saying that they had not seen enough paperwork to prove that robust plans were in place to prevent crime and disorder and keep people safe.

They were also concerned that the event team was inexperienced at putting on large-scale events.

Two residents objected to the plans.

Terry King, of Workington, is one of the organisers. He told Allerdale council’s licensing panel yesterday that committee members had experience of running or working at other festivals across the area and wanted to work with the authorities to ensure the event was successful.

Organisers announced that buses would be provided to take pre-booked festival goers back to other West Cumbrian towns each night.

Keith Harrison, financial controller for event sponsor Sealy, said: “You won’t have to get taxis, try to get people to pick you up, camp in the hedges or even try to walk home.”

He added that the event was expected to attract people in their mid-20s and beyond and organisers did not expect levels of drinking and disorder sometimes associated with younger revellers.

Inspector Dennis Kelly, of Cumbria police, said: “We’re bringing 1,500 people possibly into Aspatria. I’m not against that at all – I like to see nice things happen – but to ensure that it does go well police resources may be needed.”

Alan Reay, Aspatria mayor, spoke in support of the event.

He said: “The town council approves. We haven’t received one complaint. Anything that helps to put our town back on the map I’m for, as long as it’s done properly.”

Police put forward 31 proposed licence conditions, covering areas including security staff and stewarding, the need for a no-drugs policy and the presence of a drugs dog.

Organisers agreed to the conditions, and others set out by environmental health.

The licensing panel agreed to grant the licence.

Music will be allowed until midnight on the Friday and Saturday nights and 8pm on the Sunday, with event bars closing half an hour earlier.

Mr King said: “I’m absolutely chuffed that we have got the go ahead. We hope as many people as possible will support a new event.”

Mr Harrison added: “We wanted to provide a vehicle so that local people could see a good quality of music acts and local musicians have a stage for showcasing their talents because there’s a lot of local talent playing.

“We’re also trying to raise money for charity. We just want to put Aspatria on the map.”

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