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'Safety must come first': Open air festival cancelled due to 'safety concerns'

PUBLISHED: 11:07 09 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:37 09 August 2019

Beccles Harvest Moon Music Festival. Picture: Adam Barnes of Platform Ticket Ltd

Beccles Harvest Moon Music Festival. Picture: Adam Barnes of Platform Ticket Ltd

Adam Barnes of Platform Ticket Ltd

Organisers have been forced to cancel a town's only open-air festival following a severe weather warning of heavy rain and strong winds.

Beccles Harvest Moon festival 2016.

PHOTO: Nick ButcherBeccles Harvest Moon festival 2016. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Beccles Harvest Moon Festival, which was set to take place this weekend, has been cancelled in "the interest of the public safety".

Lisa Hampson, one of the festival organisers, said: "We had no choice. Basically, what we were told is we have to cancel this weekend's event in the interest of public safety.

"I am deflated - our eight months of hard work is for nothing.

"But I couldn't have done anything at all - all it takes is a loose branch in the wind and someone could be dead."

Beccles Harvest Moon festival 2016.

PHOTO: Nick ButcherBeccles Harvest Moon festival 2016. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Following a risk assessment from a health and safety officer for the event, they advised it should be cancelled amid safety concerns.

In a report to organisers, the health and safety officer said: "The environment is a large open area which lends no shelter, other than many established trees. These trees carry their own risks in such weather conditions.

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"Volunteers and staff would not be expected to work in such conditions. This could leave the event with insufficient security and medical cover.

Beccles Harvest Moon festival 2016.

PHOTO: Nick ButcherBeccles Harvest Moon festival 2016. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

"As disappointing as it is, the safety of yourselves and the public must come first."

According to the officer, gazebos, inflatables, children's rides, suspended lighting, fences and portable toilets could not be used safely in the predicted weather conditions.

In a post to Facebook, organisers said: "We are absolutely devastated to announce that this year's Harvest Moon Festival is cancelled due to the adverse weather forecast.

"We have no choice as safety is paramount."

The post was met with support for the organisers for putting the safety of the festival attendees first, while others claimed they were "devastated" by the news.

Mrs Hampson said: "We have not taken it as easy an decision, all the bands were pumped to play as well.

"The forecast was fantastic up until now."

Festival organisers confirmed there are no immediate plans to reschedule this year's event.

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