The Hampshire dance festival has been given the all-clear, despite the ongoing foot and mouth crisis...

HOMELANDS has been given official permission to go ahead after a meeting between promoters MEAN FIDDLER and government authorities on Thursday April 26.

The meeting between Mean Fiddler, the MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food), Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Police was held to discuss the findings of "a full risk assessment" regarding the potential spreading of foot and mouth disease to the Winchester Matterley Bowl site.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Mean Fiddler MD Melvyn Benn commented: "The desire demonstrated yesterday to welcome both us and the clubbers was extraordinary. I have rarely been witness to such a positive approach from statutory bodies in their willingness to work with a festival and am now really looking forward, as I am sure many thousands of other people are, to the opportunity of partying in the Great British outdoors as only Homelands and its participants can do."

Hampshire County Council's Emergency Planning Officer Ian Hoult added: "Hampshire County Council has been working closely with MAFF, Winchester City Council, the landowner and the festival organisers to assess whether it would be safe for Homelands to go ahead. Hampshire has so far remained free of foot and mouth disease, and our top priority is to keep it that way."

"Following advice from MAFF, the site has undergone a full risk assessment, and at a meeting on April 26 the decision was taken that Homelands could go ahead, subject to mitigating factors being put in place, which the festival organisers have agreed to."

It's not yet known what measures the festival will have to take, though it is expected that these will be announced at a press conference taking place on the site tomorrow with Minister for Music Janet Anderson, Melvin Benn, Homelands promoter Darren Hughes and representatives from Hampshire County Council in attendance.

Homelands takes place on Saturday May 26, and features live sets from Pulp and Orbital, as well as DJ sets from the likes of Carl Cox, Sasha and Danny Tenaglia across 12 arenas.

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