The organiser describes the local council's decision as "unbelievable"...
GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL organiser MICHAEL EAVIS has lodged his appeal against the decision by MENDIP DISTRICT COUNCIL to refuse his licence for next year’s event.
Speaking to NME.COM, this afternoon (December 13), he said of last night’s decision: “It was unbelievable. I could not believe it. It was the best application we have ever had. It was the strongest and most robust. We’d already succeeded with the fence, we’d proved that we can do it.”
He said it was the first time in the festival’s 32-year history that the Council had recommended approval of the application. “We were confident. We had the police on our side. We should have won really..”
Mendip District Council’s regulatory board rejected the application to stage the festival on June 27-29 for up to 150,000 people at a meeting in Shepton Mallet last night (December 12). Six of the 15 committee members were absent, which Eavis says hit their application hard. “It was really close, we should have really won it. People were away doing other things. It’s just a shame, it was really bad timing. “
The licensing committee voted five-to-four against granting the licence, with four reasons for refusal being stated as:
Unacceptable environmental impact:
Unacceptable increase in crime and disorder, particularly in the village outside the Pilton site;
Location of the site being unsuitable;
“Taking into account the past failure to comply with licensed conditions… the applicant is unfit to hold the licence.”
At a previous meeting to discuss this year’s event, members were told that a total of 1,089 crimes were attributed to the festival and 228 arrests were made.
During a 40-minute presentation to the committee at the five-hour meeting, the organisers pledged to station a police sergeant and six PCs in Pilton, over and above what the police themselves deem necessary, and gave assurances that 35% more security staff would be deployed this year to help tackle problems outside the site, along with extra security measures on tickets, a new pass system, more CCTV, increased lighting and tighter controls of the camper van fields. But opposition remained strong enough to block the application.
Eavis told NME.COM that he was almost a victim of the success of the £1 million 3.5-metre high “super-fence” erected last year to foil fence-jumpers, who had been invading the site for years. The fence made a significantly noticeable difference, but he said it meant that people who couldn’t get over were left roaming the countryside.
But he insisted: “They say there was a lot of trespass, but there was no actual violence, no one got punched or anything like that. Two-hundred people were roaming around the village generally being a nuisance, but they weren’t fighting people; people weren’t assaulted or anything.”
Seven villagers from in and around Pilton were given three minutes each to stand up at the meeting and put forward their point of view – none of which were in support of the festival, efestivals.co.uk reports.