Festival organisers win licence battle

Organisers of one of East Anglia's biggest music festivals yesterday breathed a sigh of relief as councillors issued their licence - less than five weeks before the event.

Organisers of one of East Anglia's biggest music festivals yesterday breathed a sigh of relief as councillors issued their licence - less than five weeks before the event.

With all the bands booked and thousands of tickets sold for the Eastern Haze Festival at Somerleyton Hall near Lowestoft, lingering concerns about safety and noise had left licensing officials threatening to pull the plug.

But after last-minute negotiations over objections from the police and the environmental health department, the event was cleared to go ahead on July 20 - 22.

Waveney District Council's licensing premises panel granted the licence yesterday on the condition that stewarding levels, staff training, and the event's drugs policy would be finalised with the police by July 6.

Event organisers Hazy Promotions also agreed to reduce the hours when alcohol could be sold.

They had already engaged professional acoustic consultants to provide a noise management plan which satisfied environmental health requirements for limiting and monitoring sound levels, following complaints about the noise at last year's event.

Most Read

Seb Fosdal, of Hazy Promotions, said: “There were a few last minute hiccups, but it never stopped us working towards the event.

“It was always a little bit of a worry, but I'm overjoyed now and really looking forward to it.

“There is so much work that has gone into it, and we have sold a lot more tickets than at this time last year. They're still going fast.”

Insp Stuart Grimsey, of Suffolk Police, said: “We were not opposing the festival for the sake of it, and we don't want to be seen as a stick in the mud.

“We are happy for the event to go ahead providing all the planning has been done to all the agencies' satisfaction.

“Hopefully they will have a successful event.”

Alcohol will now only be sold until 11pm on Thursday and Sunday, and midnight on Friday and Saturday of the festival weekend.

“There were concerns that it could fuel disorder on site, especially considering the nature of the event,” said Insp Grimsey.

As many as 20,000 gig-goers, paying up to £65 for tickets, are expected to flock to Somerleyton estate to see bands including Ozric Tentacles, the Bootleg Beatles, and the Blockheads - fronted by comedian Phill Jupitus in place of the late Ian Dury.

There will also be holistic workshops and a “green area” featuring a stage powered by alternative energy.

A limited number of day tickets are still available for the event, which can be booked online at www.easternhaze.com