Don’t miss out on festival, say organisers

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RESIDENTS have been warned they could miss out on a great opportunity if they fail to back plans for a music festival in a Northumberland coastal village.

AROUND 100 villagers last night attended a meeting with the organisers of the proposed music festival, which could attract 15,000 people to Seahouses.

Alan Ingham, from promoters Nightwatch, and representatives of production company Ear To The Ground, including production manager Tom Sabin, who have organised events such as BBC Proms in the Park in Manchester, discussed plans for the event ahead of a licence application being submitted in the next two weeks, including the site, traffic and noise management and access to the beach.

The festival, which would take place from August 31 to September 2, 2012, at Springhill Farm, is a camping event for over 18-year-olds with world, folk, country and classical acts on outdoor and tented stages, as well as cinema, theatre and other entertainment.

Although Mr Ingham could not announce the headline acts, he did confirm that Nigel Kennedy, a personal friend, was excited to be involved.

He said: “By not supporting this event you will miss out on a great opportunity for this area. Don’t allow this opportunity to pass you by and give us a chance.”

The organisers said that they had planned the festival outside the peak holiday season following some consultation with tourism businesses but the proposals still raised a number of concerns for residents and local businesses.

One resident questioned how a festival would affect ‘tranquility tourism’ in the area, asking: “Is there a danger we might replace one type of tourism with another?”

There were also a number of concerns raised about access to the beach and St Aidan’s dunes, part of the Northumberland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the organisers said they would continue discussions with both the AONB partnership and the National Trust to try and resolve this issue.

Other worries centred on traffic, parking, policing, noise and the affect on local businesses.

Not all the feedback was negative, however, and a show of hands revealed about half those attending in favour of the festival and half against.

Claire Thorburn, who runs a PR company in Bamburgh, said: “I think it’s fantastic what you are doing. Yes, there are issues but you are addressing them.

“Let’s not miss out on something great. The money this will bring in to the area if 10 per cent of people go and tell people how fantastic it is here. With Northumberland Tourism and One North East losing money and going, we need all the help we can get.”