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Isle Of Wight Festival survives licence review

By | Published on Wednesday 21 November 2012

Isle Of Wight Festival

The Isle Of Wight Festival will go ahead in 2013 after a two day licensing committee review resulted in the event’s current licence being upheld. That licence is currently provided on an ‘in perpetuity’ basis, but a review was called for by local aerospace firm GKN, which argued that the festival should be given each licence on a twelve month term, with a formal review every five years and more consultation with local residents and businesses, reports eFestivals.

GKN’s objections to the current licensing system for the IOW Festival followed the problems that occurred this year when bad weather caused problems for those trying to access the festival site by car, resulting in traffic tailbacks across the island’s road system, and some festival-goers having to sleep in their cars, or even on ferries from which they were unable to disembark due to the jams. But the island’s Festival Licence Review Committee did not back the calls for a new system, instead only making nominal changes to the event’s current licence, mainly by requiring promoter John Giddings to make public an Event Safety, Operational & Traffic Management Plan.

Speaking at the hearing, Giddings said that he was willing to invest in improving the local infrastructure around his festival’s site to avoid the problems that occurred this year should the event be hit by very wet weather again in the future. Plans were also revealed to charge for parking at future festivals, encouraging more ticket-buyers to get to the event by public transport.

However, he said that if the changes to his licence being proposed by GKN were introduced, it would not be financially viable for his company to pay for long-term infrastructure improvements, and might not be viable for him to stage a festival on the island at all, adding that an alternative site on the English mainland (away from the licensing committee’s control, and not subject to the Isle Of Wight Act which adds extra licensing issues for events staged on the island) had already been identified. He concluded: “I’m willing to put my hand in my pocket, but if you don’t want us to, just tell me and we’ll go away”.

Luckily for him, both the Committee and the Police said that they felt the licence was “fit for purpose” as it currently stood. The 2013 edition of the festival will take place from 13-16 Jun.