How the free music died

PUBLISHED: 12:15 15 September 2006 | UPDATED: 19:48 01 June 2010

IN response to the article in last week s edition about the death of the Free Music Festival in Wisbech, I would like to present a few facts. I was chairman of the Fenmuse committee, which organised this event, very successfully I might add. I accept that

IN response to the article in last week's edition about the death of the Free Music Festival in Wisbech, I would like to present a few facts.

I was chairman of the Fenmuse committee, which organised this event, very successfully I might add.

I accept that new legislation brought in by the Government has to be adhered to, but this was not the only major problem that destroyed the most successful event ever seen in Wisbech park.

The local council also played a major part in the downfall of this event with its lack of interest. The council was invited to have a representative present at our committee meetings, so that we might discuss and find solutions to any minor problems needing to be dealt with. Not once did it send anyone to these monthly meetings.

Then with just two months to go before the show, we were hit with a mountain of obstacles that we could not comply with in that timeframe.

How strange it is that none of these obstacles were spoken of last year when the local council had my own son and his band KLOANE performing in the park (free of charge and taking a day off work) on a freezing cold day to help impress a group of

people in order to enhance the chances of being awarded a 'green flag'. There was no talk of insurances that day, although KLOANE do have all the required insurances, no safety procedures to follow, no Performing Rights Society to worry about.

I noticed the following extract from Fenland Council's website: "Fenland District Council has made striking improvements to the facilities at Wisbech park, providing five beautifully-designed site maps at all five park entrances and one large notice board, at a cost of £15,000."

I agree these signs look nice and do improve the appearance of our local park but will they attract about 6,000 people into the park over a two-day period? I think not.

Imagine how disappointed I was two weeks ago when I attended Long Sutton Music Festival to discover Long Sutton Council was not only actively involved with the event's organisers but also contributed a large portion of the cash needed to hire the sound equipment. It also provided the park free of charge.

What is with Wisbech?

With the efforts of a group of people (the Fenmuse Committee), who gave their time free of charge and all the bands who travelled to Wisbech for no financial gain, we created an event that, in the short space of three years, became the best event in the Fenland area just to have it ruined by a bunch of people who could not care

less.

In 2005 we even gave the event an international flavour by inviting a band from Holland to perform for us, again free of charge.

Most performers at our festival were teenagers. How nice it is to see these youngsters pouring their heart and soul into something totally legal - something that they can enjoy and have lots of fun, without a single thought about mugging some old lady or joy-riding in a stolen car.

We should be supporting these young people as much as we can.

One last point I would like to bring to everyone's attention - Fenmuse 2005 saw about 6,000 people in the park over a two-day period and how much trouble did we have? Not a single incident.

What does that say about musicians and their

supporters?

TOM READ

Ollard Avenue

Wisbech

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