Isle of Wight Festival: Council hears GKN concerns

By Emily Pearce

Monday, November 19, 2012



A REVIEW of the Isle of Wight Festival's licence will continue tomorrow (Tuesday).

The hearing, which started today (Monday), was almost abandoned before it even began, when festival promoters Solo appealed to the Isle of Wight Council's regulatory committee to dismiss the application, which was lodged by GKN following the traffic chaos at this year's event.

Solo's solicitor alleged the aerospace firm had used the review process to pressurise Solo into paying £50,000 compensation — the amount GKN says it lost due to the disruption.

But the committee did not accept Solo’s view the application was entirely 'frivolous or vexatious' and allowed the hearing to go ahead.

Solo has refused to reimburse GKN and denied it was liable for compensation.

The committee today heard from emergency services personnel, who said they were able to respond to emergency calls despite the traffic congestion, and from the council's licensing and highways bosses, who said lessons had been learnt.

Police Supt Paul Brooks, the officer with overall responsibility for the festival, told the committee no-one could have foreseen the consequences of the prolonged heavy rain.

"There is no doubt that the car park entrance was the single point of failure, and we have to accept the contingency planning around that was not as good as we would normally expect," he said.

"However, it was the worst weather for 100 years. We have never come across this issue before, that you couldn't park on grass, and it wasn't just the Isle of Wight that was affected. It was the same at the Farnborough Air Show, Creamfields and Silverstone.

"But it would be unforgivable if we didn't learn from this, and we will never allow a situation like this to happen again."

Festival organiser John Giddings told the County Press he had a mainland site lined up as a potential alternative to the Isle of Wight, should the festival's licence be withdrawn.



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Displaying the last 10 of 12 comments - Show All Comments

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by alan naylor

21st November 2012, at 00:37:05

Off course Solo will Take the Festival to the mainland he wll not have to combat any of the problems we put before him here on the island the Festival has now become so big it has outgrown the facilities the island can offer Accomadation Roads Car parking Toilets and off course getting on and off the island This will be a blessing to small persent of the retired well pensioned people in high office some free masons in high office who do not rely on the economy at all this is why their voice and rulling will be heard over your s this is the way it has always been and will continue to be so anyone must be very nieve to think other wise

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by T Rollingsworth

20th November 2012, at 12:24:42

The festival should definitely go ahead as it brings so much to the island economy. They can blame the weather all they like, the main issue was the capacity. I didn't go last year but the year before that was the first year it increased dramatically and the site is just too full nevermind the roads.
The fact of the matter is that the roads aren't big enough to handle it. Even my commute from Cowes to Ryde every day takes longer than it should due to end-to-end traffic. Maybe this PFI contract should consider dual carridgeways all over the island. Sod the farmers/ramblers complaining about ruining hedges,

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by Rupert Besley

20th November 2012, at 10:13:13

'Police: No one could have foreseen you couldn't park on grass.'

Not true. Like Neil Hartland, below, we did. With an important ferry crossing to make around that date, we were very aware of the likelihood of festival parking difficulties and traffic mayhem about to ensue. There had been a month of rain and anyone could see how things were, apart from the police apparently, and the festival organisers, who preferred to save money on the cost and effort of extra contingency planning and chose instead to gamble on sunshine.

Live and let live. I guess I'm not alone in being happy for the Festival to continue, provided that it is properly organised. For that to happen, all responsible need to come clean about their failures last time and own up to the inadequacy of their preparations, accepting the knock-on effects of their misjudgements and paying due compensation where appropriate.

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by Colin Russell

20th November 2012, at 09:58:34

So a pop festival is going to put the Island on the" MAP" what a load of garbage, i think Queen Victoria and Osbourne house, and a number of other place,s on the Island,have already done that years ago.
I would like to know just how much this council gets out of the festival, if this council wanted £500 to open the toilets at East Cowes for the fireworks,
The sooner we get a council that works for the Island and the people the sooner the better.
Also Wightlink must be worried if it goes on the mainland, call solo bluff, and we will see if the Island goes skint i don,t think so.

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by John Holsburt

20th November 2012, at 08:40:27

The Isle of Wight Festival has huge benefits to the Island in terms of national and global recognition. There are claims that the festival does not contribute to the economy and that money goes off the Island, there are not many companies that are Island owned thus money leaves the IOW on a regular basis however jobs are created in generating such income. I know for a fact that the festival brings new money to the Island weather is it temporary employment, spend in supermarkets and money donated to charities.
I have witnessed more disruption from snow and bad weather then what the festival caused last year, skate parks closed, schools, roads and businesses as a result do we as Islanders seek compensation or ask for the Island to be closed?
For reasons unknown to me there is a culture on this Island that is against anything that is economically beneficial, fun or different. I remember the objections for motor cross another event that would have helped raise our profile as a destinat

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by G Day

20th November 2012, at 08:29:14

Did anyone consider the festival puts the Island on the map? There's not a whole lot going for this Island any more, the only other prominent thing I can think of is Cowes week. OK so not much money goes to local businesses but it is the one largest thing the IOW has for advertising tourism. And how much would ferry fares increase if they couldn't rely on the yearly boost from the festival? It seems the haters want to live in their own little backward sheltered island just for the sake of a week of disruption. Luck we don't have a premier league football club, people would be moaning every week. And Yvonne - I don't think chldren skating and a few dog walkers constitutes a valid argument against such a large event. I live in Cowes and don't complain in Cowes Week when I can't get into a pub for all the people, or can't walk a dog (haven't got one) on The Green firework night because of all the people!

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by b ward

20th November 2012, at 00:55:36

i think the festival is very well run, although i live near to it we do not have
much disruption as a family. However on the days of the people travelling
over and back it is a bit much to expect the island to grind to a halt transport wise i think. It would be better on the mainland.

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by Neil Hartland

19th November 2012, at 23:37:47

'Police Sgt Paul Brooks, the officer with overall responsibility for the festival, told the committee no-one could have foreseen the consequences of the prolonged heavy rain'. Err, excuse me? Well i'm no scientist but when a grassed area becomes subject to 'prolonged heavy rain', I for one could foresee the consequences of driving lots of vehicles across it! As for Mr Giddings having a 'mainland site lined up', i think that is just to scaremonger those who support the festival into putting pressure on the licencing committee into making the decision in Solo's favour. I personally went out to help a stranded festival goer and his pregnant girlfriend who's car was bogged down in a field and at no time did I see any festival stewards there to assist anyone. It was left to the 4x4 volunteers to help. Some emergency contingency plan!

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by kevin froment

19th November 2012, at 22:25:06

sadly everything you say yvonne is right, what small amount is spent in local shops cannot compare to the amount that gets taken back to the mainland by the supermarkets and transport firms, how this festival benefits the island is still something i havent got my head round yet, they were huge in the 70s, how did our local bobbies cope then, mostly pedestrian traffic if you look at the pictures, perhaps thats the answer, either that or call giddings bluff

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by Yvonne Carter

19th November 2012, at 21:44:12

John Giddings has a mainland site lined up - great! Island festival goers won't have a problem with that and island residents (AKA as RATEPAYERS) can continue to use Seaclose Park rather than lose the use of it for a month or more. Children can use the skateboard park every day and walkers will be able to walk along the river. Footballs pitches will not need to be repaired. School can continue to educate children and pupils will be able to take their examinations. Sounds perfect to me! I've yet to see what we get out of holding the festival in Newport. If you have tried to get into Newport in the mornings you will know the traffic is stacked backed to the Crematorium, or like today to Lushington Hill. Newport is not the place to hold a huge event like this when it is struggling with "normal" traffic. Newport has hardly any independent shops so all the money spent goes back to the mainland via Morrisons, Sainsburys, Red Funnel and Southern Vectis. Sad but true.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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