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Dance music festival cancelled over 'insufficient' safety plans

PUBLISHED: 08:19 24 May 2019

A music festival planned at Fakenham Football Club was cancelled due to

A music festival planned at Fakenham Football Club was cancelled due to "insufficient" safety plans. Pictured, a previous event at the club grounds. Photo: Matthew Usher

© Archant Norfolk 2014

The organiser of a new dance music festival in north Norfolk has said she is "devastated" to have to cancel the event after her safety assessments were deemed "insufficient".

Organiser Kayleigh Hanlon said she was devastated to have to cancel the event. Photo: Sonya DuncanOrganiser Kayleigh Hanlon said she was devastated to have to cancel the event. Photo: Sonya Duncan

The Fakenham Music Festival was billed as a day of family friendly fun, food and music, with acts from rock and hip hop, to EDM, trance and garage, in the grounds of the town's football club in June.

But after a council safety advisory group deemed the team's plans for handling bouncy castles, fire acts and festival security "insufficient", organisers publicly pulled the plug on the charity event on Tuesday, May 21, with just weeks to go and refunded hundreds of pounds to customers.

Kayleigh Hanlon, 26, said the decision was "hard" but following the meeting with the council and police on Thursday, May 9, she realised they couldn't go ahead.

"I was devastated," she said.

Fakenham Music Festival was billed as a day of family fun on Saturday, June 29. Photo: Fakenham Music FestivalFakenham Music Festival was billed as a day of family fun on Saturday, June 29. Photo: Fakenham Music Festival

"We've had this planned for just over a year. It was my first ever festival so I didn't know the correct things to do."

Miss Hanlon, a waitress and charity event organiser from Fakenham, said she was asked to make changes, including removing dance music from the line up, and changing the timings from 2pm to 2am to 12pm to 10pm.

"It just wasn't going to go as I wanted," she said.

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"It was my decision to cancel. It was just getting too much, what they wanted me to do.

"It felt like they were taking control over the event."

Organisers refunded more than £300 to people who had pre-booked camping for Saturday, June 29.

And Miss Hanlon said there was "a lot to think about" before planning the event for next year.

A spokesman for North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) said organisers provided them with an "insufficient event management plan" and added: "There simply was not enough information around issues including bouncy castles, fire acts, live music and food and security provision.

"These all need well planned safety assessments.

"We have to act in the best interests of all residents to ensure we have done everything in our control to keep events safe.

"We recently advised it might be a good approach to maintain the daytime element, but not the overnight element.

"The decision to cancel was not down to the safety advisory group or to the council. Hopefully the organisers will return with a safe, successful event in the future."

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