Posted: 24.06.20 at 14:46 by By Eddie Bisknell
Police chiefs have objected to hundreds of people gathering for a “Pop-up Picnic” festival in South Derbyshire - due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Case Live Limited, based in London, has applied to hold the music festival – at which hundreds of people would sit in scores of “bubbles” three metres away from each other – at Royle Farm in Caldwell Road, Drakelow.
Toby Darvill, Case Live director, has applied to South Derbyshire District Council for a license to hold the event.
In the application he says: “We are producing a live entertainment family event, which is Covid-19 safe.”
If approved, the event would be open up to 499 people per day.
Royle Farm, the base of the Royle Farm Events company, is listed online as “the perfect festival venue” and also hosts weddings, birthday and anniversary parties, corporate events, clay pigeon shooting and dog trials.
It has a 190-acre camping area and 22-acre showground.
The event is due to run for six days from Tuesday, July 28 until Sunday, August 2 and would be open from 11am until 11pm each day.
District councillors on the licensing committee will make a decision on the event next Tuesday.
An event management plan for the festival, drawn up by Sygma Safety and Events Ltd says: “There are four sessions per day for Pop-up Picnic, ranging from Family Fun stage shows to Tribute acts and up-and-coming artists with comedy or dancing to finish off the night.
“The event arena will host food outlets, bars and be marked out three-metre diameter ‘bubbles’.
“The safety of all staff and visitors is paramount throughout the build, event and de-rig; both for general Health & Safety, but also for the Coronavirus Covid-19.”
The Royle Farm site is listed by the applications as the proposed Staffordshire venue, but it is in Derbyshire.
Aine O’Brien, the district council’s environmental health officer, has written in response to the application: “As it is not allowable under current public health legislation to run an outdoor music venue, we are unable to assess whether the submitted general Covid-19 risk assessment is suitable and sufficient.”
As a result, she has objected on public safety grounds.
Meanwhile, Gareth Fowler, a Derbyshire police licensing officer, has also objected on behalf of the force, writing: “At present, public gatherings of more than six people are prohibited – and although the plan gives extensive thought to social distancing, this would be impossible to manage and/or enforce.”
PC Fowler based the force’s objection on all four licensing categories – preventing crime and disorder; public nuisance; public safety; and protecting children from harm.
He says the proposed festival does not provide “any evidence” to show how the firm would help mitigate these risks and this alone is enough to object to it taking place outside of the “parallel threat that is the current Covid-19 pandemic”.
PC Fowler also writes: “This is an extensive festival with access to alcohol for 12 hours a day for a six day period.
“It appears that currently there are no ticket sales, line up, contractors, security, or anything else in place relevant to this notice (for the event).”
PC Fowler finds fault with the event management plan submitted by Case Live to support its application – which the firm says is a “working document not designed for this specific site”.
He says: “There are no details as to how many bars, bands, artists or concessions will be utilised at the site over the six days of operations.
The event plan, written by Sygma Safety and Events Ltd, says the festival would take two days to set up – including a stage, temporary roadways, cabins, fencing, water and electricity sources.
It includes references to security teams, stewards, event management staff and a press and social media team.
PC Fowler wrote: “I would suggest that the majority of the management plan relates to larger scale events which would rightly need a premises license to run safely.”
A diagram of the proposed festival layout shows the entrance to the site stemming off to the right of the Royle Farm Industrial Estate access road through a series of fields.
On the event showground there are 171 “bubbles” marked out for attendees which are three metres wide and spaced three metres apart from each other.
It also shows six concessions stands but says this layout is to be confirmed once suppliers are agreed.
The event management plan for the festival says: “Case Live intends to promote and produce a series of events under the Popup Picnic banner.
“These are “socially distanced” events in compliance with the government’s guidelines around provisions to minimise the transmission of the COVID19 Coronavirus.
“We prefer the term ‘physically distanced social events’ but will continue to use the accepted language around the methods for protecting from the virus.
“The venues will be chosen for their ability to accommodate socially distanced parking, the space requirements for socially distanced groups and the terrain required for viewing and listening to entertainment from a stage.
“Case Live hope to partner with the same suppliers for some of the larger equipment and for the bars, however, where practicable, catering and smaller suppliers (eg barriers/fencing) will be hired from companies local to the venue site; this is to ensure that the carbon footprint of the event is minimised and the events help kick-start the event economy in their local areas.”