Villagers angry after Winchester music festival avoids prosecution following licence breach

The Boomtown Fair at Matterley Bowl, near Winchester

The Boomtown Fair at Matterley Bowl, near Winchester

12:52pm Thursday 17th January 2013 in Business

VILLAGERS are angry that the organisers of a music festival have avoided prosecuting after breaking licensing conditions.

Winchester City Council has issued a warning to Boomtown after the music event held at Cheesefoot Head last August One Cheriton villager, who asked not to be named, said: “My wife and I were kept awake until 2am; it should not happen. It is the council’s job to enforce conditions and take action if the conditions are breached.”

He said he was unhappy about the council press release which said there had only been one complaint on the evening.

“I know several people complained the following day. I have been told there were 78 but I can’t verify that. The council stance is not very helpful or sympathetic to residents.”

Parish council including Tichborne have been considering whether to make a formal complaint to the city council.

A council spokeswoman said there were 26 complaints over the whole event and 54 calls to the council hotline.

She added: “We have to weigh up what will have the most impact. We thought it best to give a formal warning. We have to balance the costs in taking any further action.”

But she indicated the council was set to take a tougher stance: “We thought the right thing was to give a warning so if anything happens in future we will definitely go for a more formal approach.”

Boomtown and landowner Peveril Bruce, of the Matterley Estate, were asked for comment but neither had returned our calls by the time of going to press.

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4:32pm Thu 17 Jan 13 kingnotail says…

Kept awake until 2am? Boo-hoo..

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5:10pm Thu 17 Jan 13 huckit P says…

Regardless of anyone complaining, if an event breaches its licence conditions it should face appropriate and effective action. Otherwise there is little point in having the licence in the first place. A slap on the wrist is not effective.

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12:55pm Fri 18 Jan 13 Belgarum says…

26 people complained; meanwhile thousands of people enjoyed themselves at the event. Shouldn't a democracy champion the rights of the majority?

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11:28pm Sat 19 Jan 13 cardinalfang says…

Belgarum wrote…

26 people complained; meanwhile thousands of people enjoyed themselves at the event. Shouldn't a democracy champion the rights of the majority?

So it's OK for thousands to descend on any village in the country and party and make as much noise as they like because they outnumber the locals. Democracy in action, or is that better expressed as "mob rule"? It is only a democracy if it is put to the vote to the whole country, so how about it "Would you vote for the right of small percentage of people to impose their will on a smaller percentage in the name of entertainment and self-interest"?

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2:11pm Sun 20 Jan 13 retiredoldgit says…

So on one, maybe two nights in the year a handful of people had noise until 2 o'clock in the morning. Was that such a terrible experience?

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1:15pm Mon 21 Jan 13 Tigers Wood says…

If you lived in this village and had young children, or work the next day for example and were kept up until 2am, then perhaps you'd feel differently. Kingnotail, was a well reasoned, intelligent and constructive response. I have to say I agree with huckit. Why have these licence conditions in place if there's no punishment for breaching them.

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3:32pm Wed 23 Jan 13 Edpgc82 says…

For those not familiar within the event there are literally dozens of smaller stages alongside the larger big tent stages. I imagine it is genuinely a really difficult task to try and predict how all these noise sources will interact, within the acoustic profile of the matterly bowl, never mind police all of the smaller stages. Personally I had a great time and so did thousands of others at a really unique and friendly festival. It was however dissapointing that the main outdoor stage was clearly holding back on the volume to meet the councils requirements. It would be great if the restrictions could be reduced on the Saturday night! I do wonder if some of these complaints are truly genuine, I would of thought shutting your windows would reduce the noise level significantly. Though admittedly might be uncomfortable dependent on the weather. I do hope that festivals are allowed to continue there without excessive restrictions as its a unique location for them.

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