Organisers look to extend Carfest festival

Basingstoke Gazette: Carfest 2013 hosts Chris Evans and Alex Jones. Buy this photo Carfest 2013 hosts Chris Evans and Alex Jones.

THE organisers of a summer festival which raises money for BBC Children in Need are hoping to generate even more funds by increasing the size of the event or holding a second festival.

Brand Events, which organises CarFest, held at Laverstoke Park Farm from Friday to Sunday over the August bank holiday weekend, has presented three options at meetings with neighbours and Overton Parish Council, as ways of raising more money for the charity.

These are:

Extend CarFest to run for a fourth day on the bank holiday Monday, selling another 7,000 day tickets

Sell an extra 1,000 camping tickets and 2,000 day tickets for the Saturday and 2,000 extra tickets for the Sunday – this would mean Laverstoke Park Farm’s owners, Clare and Jody Scheckter would have to apply to the borough council to increase their licence from 20,000 people on site each day to 23,000

Keep the event as it is but, once over, leave the music stage and other key infrastructure in place to hold a smaller event the following weekend, with up to 10,000 people per day for two days. Most likely, it would be a classical or opera concert.

Brand Events, which first staged CarFest in 2012, gave those consulted on the options 10 days to feedback any concerns. A small minority of residents who live close to the site were angered by the plans, and voiced their frustrations at Overton Parish Council meeting last week.

The same villagers had opposed the event from the outset, and campaigned in 2012 and 2013 against the licence being granted for 20,000 people on site each day.

Neville Barnes had attended the meeting with Brand Events, and pointed out that when a review of Laverstoke’s licence was held two years ago, Mr and Mrs Scheckter had maintained that it was not their intention to hold more than one event per year, despite being given permission to hold two large events a year for up to 20,000 visitors.

He added: “These promises have been put to one side and we are looking at a 15 per cent increase in numbers. If you look at that on a linear rate, the statements made that this could be the next Glastonbury might not be so outlandish.”

Karen Davies, whose home backs on to the CarFest site, said: “I would like to add some disappointment and concern that we are back here again. A lot of us spent a lot of time and upset to get to some agreement.

“We have had two reviews. We thought we would live peacefully for at least a little while because the view of the licensing committee was that an agreement was in place so people could live comfortably.”

She added: “If it increases to 23,000 or four days, there would be a variation to the licence which they would have to ask for.

“But it still doesn’t stop them doing their third suggestion which is running another event, which means weeks and weeks of the summer sitting in a festival site, because that’s where our house is located. There was never a suggestion that they would run two events or we would have pushed harder against that.”

Council chairman Councillor Tom Ridler said councillors would discuss CarFest at the next meeting.

A statement from Brand Events said: “As ever, we will continue to work closely with the local community and all appropriate agencies to minimise any impact on the local neighbourhood.”

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