July 28, 2022 11.03 am

Have you herd? Louth festival to go ahead at llama farm, but no alcohol

Alcohol licence rejected but music to go ahead

Organisers are defiant a Louth music festival on a llama farm will go ahead this Saturday despite losing a bid for an alcohol licence.

East Lindsey District Council on Tuesday refused to issue a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) to the organisers of About LN which was planned for Louth Llama Trekking, off Julian Bower, meaning they cannot serve alcohol.

However, despite TEN licensing rules covering music events, they exempt amplified live music for between 8am and 11pm for audiences of no more than 500 people in workplaces – meaning the organisers can still go ahead, just without sale of alcohol.

In a statement following the meeting, organisers told Local Democracy Reporters: “They have refused to let us sell alcohol on site, but the event music-wise doesn’t fall under the licensing act 2003 meaning the festival will go ahead.”

The 12-hour event will be headlined by artist Matt Guy, who recently appeared on BBC Radio 1, alongside a number of other acts.

Around 200 tickets have been sold for the event, though 400 were available.

At the meeting on Tuesday, Lincolnshire Police, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and ELDC’s environmental health had argued that the event would be unsafe.

Catherine McGarva from Lincolnshire Police’s legal team said there were also “local tensions” about access to private road Julian Bower and the land owner of the Louth Llama Trekking site which was due to host the event.

She said there had been “intelligence that residents would seek to attempt to block parts of Julian Bower to prevent access”.

“When you have two very entrenched positions, that is a flashpoint for disorder and public nuisance, and the concern here is that people will be walking into this event, unaware of the potential for that flashpoint, potentially in high spirits, particularly if the alcohol licence were to be granted and that is the concern.

“Whilst it might be problematic at the start, that will escalate through the evening with the the noise and the presence of people and the footfall, so as people then go to leave the site that could lead to flashpoints and potential for violence and crime.”

There were also concerns over a lack of engagement around the event and missing documents around event planning and fire safety concerns.

Councillors were told a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) had not been able to examine the plans.

However, organisers said they had put together detailed plans for the safety of the event and had sent them to the SAG via WiiTransfer. They said they had chased for responses from local council officers.

They had also organised parking to be at the Cattle Market, run practice tests for emergencies and organised alternative access to the site.

“Every question that has been asked, we have included in the plan and in the Safety Advisory Group plans we emailed,” said organiser Bradley Cooper.

“Safety is a massive thing to us, if it goes wrong that’s it, we can’t do these events any more. We’ve made a lot of effort to get this right.”

He told councillors that organisers had learnt lessons from five previously successful events, including hiring more staff and an earlier finishing time.

He added some complaints, including one suggesting the stage would be made of straw, were inaccurate.

Councillors, however, said the correct documentation had not been received and that they continued to have concerns around access and safety, the dispersal of crowds at the end of the event and the Julian Bower residents’ tensions.

“[The Committee] remain unconvinced that the event will be run in a manner that will promote and safeguard the licensing objectives and alleviate the concerns,” they said in a decision notice.

“The subcommittee remain of the opinion that the proposed site is not a safe location to hold the event and run it in a manner that will promote the licence objectives.”