Curtis says Fenland Council effectively powerless to intervene in Whittlesey festival after organisers used existing seven year old licence

WHITTLESEY councillor Martin Curtis admitted that Fenland Council was powerless to halt last weekend’s Organic Sounds Music Festival at the Gildenburgh Water site even if they had wanted it stopped.

Cllr Curtis said: “I have been to enough festivals to know that to make one like the Organic Festival work locally, it has to work with the local people rather then in spite of them,” he wrote on his on line blog.

“The Organic Festival in Whittlesey rode off the back of a licence issued in 2005, effectively over-riding and ignoring the need to work with Whittlesey residents, listen to their concerns and react to them in a way that a new licence would have ensured.”

Cllr Curtis said that by “pure coincidence” at the same time as the Whittlesey festival was taking place he was at Wacken Open Air - a large hard rock and metal festival held close to the town of Wacken in Germany.

“I’m a big fan of festivals and of Wacken in particular,” he said. “One of the reasons for that is because it completes and compliments the town and works with its local residents.”

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Cllr Curtis said: “Someone has to listen and to learn. Of course those that went had a great time - but that does not make a great festival.

“That comes about from getting the whole picture right. The Organic Festival failed in that”.

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On Twitter later Cllr Curtis said his argument was not with Fenland Council over this festival but with the owner of Gildenburgh. .

“If Gildenburgh did not need a new licence, nowt can be done but he should still have consulted,” said Cllr Curtis.

However he added that although “the sound issue cannot be ignored many other resident fears about festival seem not to have been realised”.

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