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Organisers pull the plug on Angus Festival of House

Angus Festival of House director Craig Blyth at a public consultation event in February.
Angus Festival of House director Craig Blyth at a public consultation event in February.

Organisers of Angus Festival of House have sensationally pulled the plug on the controversial event at the eleventh hour.

The applications were due to be heard on Friday at a special meeting of the Civic Licensing Committee and the Angus Licensing Board in Forfar.

Full refunds are now being given out for the open-air event on June 10/11 which was due to feature dance legends Underworld, Rudimental and Leftfield.

The festival was hoped to attract 15,000 music fans but the proposals were condemned as “incoherent” and “riddled with gaps” in a report which was due to go before councillors at County Buildings on Friday.

Communities director Alan McKeown said the management plans were “not deemed to be workable”.

Superintendent Graeme Murdoch of Police Scotland said there were “critical” failings in the festival plans around issues including crowd safety and traffic.
He said Police Scotland had no confidence in the plans and would not therefore intend to allocate resources to specifically police the event.

Objections were also raised by Scottish Fire and Rescue which warned of “serious safety implications” should an incident occur.

It is with much regret we are announcing this year’s Festival of House will not go ahead.

Craig Blyth, director of Festival of House, confirmed the event would not be going ahead but added that they want to plan another event next year.

He said: “It is with much regret we are announcing this year’s Festival of House will not go ahead. We are extremely disappointed to have reached this decision.

“The gap between all parties in terms of key plans is such that it is incapable of resolution in the time left before the event and that to go forward with tomorrow’s licensing hearing would be harmful to the relationship between the parties involved.

“We have proposed a formal debriefing to Angus Council, presenting an opportunity to look forward to planning another event timeously for next year.

“Lessons can be learned by all parties from such an exercise.”

The festival would have brought significant benefits to the region and generated a much needed, long lasting economic legacy.

He added: “We would like to thank the many thousands of supporters who have unequivocally voiced their desire over the last twelve months for the festival to take place.

“This includes residents, local businesses and fans, many of whom were travelling to Angus for the first time from across the country, and who were looking forward to enjoying a weekend of world class music in a beautiful part of Scotland.

“The festival would have brought significant benefits to the region and generated a much needed, long lasting economic legacy.

“Most of all we would like to express our disappointment to the thousands of fans who have bought tickets for the festival and offer them our sincere apologies.

“We would like to reassure fans who have bought tickets a full refund will be swiftly administered.”

He also rejected some of the criticism that levelled in a report to Friday’s planned council meeting, saying: ” We dispute entirely any suggestion the event would not be safe.

“The safety and well-being of fans and residents has been our priority from the outset, and we feel the core safety plans in place are comprehensive and robust.”

For more on this story, see Friday’s Courier.

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