New festival for Eastville Park wins licence

A LICENCE has been granted for a new dance music festival in Eastville Park, despite objections from some neighbours.

The first Kinetics Island Festival is due to be held in September at the bottom end of Eastville Park (pictured above during a previous unrelated event), next to Muller Road and the M32.

It will be organised by the team behind Bristol nightclub Motion.

Members of a city council licensing sub-committee voted to grant the licence at a hearing today.

Before doing so they heard the serious concerns of 15 people living in the area, who urged them not to give permission for the festival to go ahead.

The concerns included anti-social behaviour, loud music, and the potential for violence — particularly given the recent spate of stabbings in the city.

But festival organisers said these issues would all be well managed.

Bass from previous festivals ‘shook doors and shelves’ in homes

Resident Michelle Dean said: “I’ve lived in Eastville since 1997, a couple of streets away from the park. I have chronic fatigue, and my home is very important to me to be able to relax in.

“But the noise [from previous festivals] was just intolerable. My front door was vibrating with the sound, and some things I had on a shelf fell off.

“It wasn’t music as such, it was just a vibrating bass noise. We started going away after that, but not everyone can afford to go away. My neighbour is bed-bound.

“This is not a suitable location for a festival of this size or nature. We have had to put up with this for a long time, but enough is enough.”

Read more: New festival to feature two days of dance music

Another resident, Hazel Sutton, said: “I’ve lived in the area for 29 years. They come up with all these promises, but they never complete them.

“Traffic is a huge problem. On Saturdays shoppers come to Ikea and Tesco, and it’s congested enough as it is.

“With the festival, it’s a nightmare – it’s horrendous trying to get in and out of your street.”

A map produced by the organisers shows the area to be taken up by the fesitval site

Capacity will rise from 15,000 to 25,000

The festival’s capacity will be limited to 15,000 people in its first year, rising gradually up to 25,000 over the next few years.

Other residents at the hearing complained that many of the festival-goers would likely be drunk or on drugs, and in previous years there had been frequent problems with fights, litter and public urination.

As well as Motion, the infrastructure of Kinetics Island will be organised by We Are the Fair, a London firm with experience of putting on festivals elsewhere in the country.

The organisers wrote to some residents living nearby about their plans, and hosted an online public meeting. But many residents complained that only a few of them had actually received the letters.

Matthew Phipps, a licensing solicitor representing the festival, said: “We are genuinely sorry that some residents didn’t receive the letter. It’s clear it was not done to a standard that residents would have reasonably expected.”

He added that Avon & Somerset Police had not made a representation to the licensing committee about their concerns, which is unusual for an event of this scale.

Normally the police would tell the council about how an event might impact levels of crime and disorder, but Mr Phipps said their absence from the hearing indicated they were content with the plans of the organisers.

Restrictions on music over the three days covered by the licence included a 6pm start on Fridays, 10.30pm finish on Saturday and 10pm finish on Sunday.

Alcohol will stop being served 15 minutes before the last music finishes.

Bank holiday weekends excluded from licence

Plans to continue onto bank holiday Mondays were also scrapped after complaints from residents.

Mr Phipps said: “It’s perfectly legitimate for this park to be used, as it has been over the years, for large scale events. It would be inappropriate for there to be a small focus of events on one park at the exclusion of others.”

The festival will have one main stage, a second stage in a big top, and a smaller stage with “acoustic background music”.

This year’s festival is planned over two days, on Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22.

A hotline will be arranged for residents to ring with their concerns, although some claimed this was not answered during a previous festival, Tokyo World, which had different organisers.

Mr Phipps said problems with previous festivals in Eastville Park should not be linked to the Kinetics Island Festival.

He said Tokyo World allowed 16 and 17-year-old visitors, whereas Kinetics will be 18-plus only. However, the noise limits allowed for Kinetics will be even louder than Tokyo World, with maximum levels set at 72 decibels, two higher than Tokyo World.

Licensing sub-committee chair and Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew Brown said the lack of representation from the police was “very significant” in their decision to grant permission for the festival to go ahead.

A condition on the licence will prevent festivals being held on bank holiday weekends.

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service