The organisers of a music festival in Bruton have been prosecuted in court for putting public safety at risk.
Dan Wiltshire and Daniel Hurring, organisers of the One Love Festival at Gilcombe Farm, appeared before Yeovil magistrates today (May 29) where they both pleaded guilty to offences under the Licensing Act of the festival.
In 2018, One Love Productions Limited was granted a premises licence by South Somerset District Council to hold a music festival at the farm.
The court heard that, prior to the event, it became clear to South Somerset District Council and other authorities that multiple premise licence conditions were likely to be breached should the festival go ahead.
As a result, Avon and Somerset Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and South Somerset District Council expressed strong concerns and withdrew support.
However, the One Love Festival went ahead as planned and breached several of the licencing conditions, a site inspection found.
The pair pleaded guilty to breaching the following conditions:
- That a final event management plan was not agreed with the local authority.
- Failure to adequately manage traffic safely, internally and externally.
- Failure to put in place an adequate potable water supply.
- Failure to provide sufficient lighting on site.
- Failure to sign off certificates for demountable structures.
- Failure to implement an effective stewarding plan in terms of numbers and training.
- Incorrect on-site speed limit of 10 mph instead of 5mph.
- Lanes and road entrances were inadequately lit during the hours of darkness.
- No running water in the medical centre.
- Failure to prevent vehicles being able to access the arena and public areas.
- Failure to implement an effective command structure and ensure that all personnel knew their responsibilities.
- A failure to engage effectively with the Safety Advisory Group and provide agreed documentation prior to the event.
South Somerset District Council were concerned about the breaches as they ‘increased the likelihood of crime and disorder’ and ‘compromised the safety of both staff and members of the public who attended the site’.
Magistrates imposed a fine of £2,000 with £2,000 costs and a £75 victim surcharge on Wiltshire, citing that he was highly culpable for the breaches and that he had placed public safety at risk.
Hurring received a fine of £750 with £1,500 costs and a £75 victim surcharge.
Speaking after the conclusion of the case, South Somerset District Council’s leader Val Keitch said: “We really support and encourage events in South Somerset and we want people to have fun. But to be really enjoyable, it is important that events are well organised and safe for people attending.
“It is paramount that staff and festival goers are safe at these events and, while no one was hurt on this occasion, it seems this was down to good fortune rather than adequate organisation.
“This is a council which takes the safety of its communities and visitors seriously, and is prepared to carry out enforcement when appropriate.”
In a statement, Mr Hurring said: “I worked as a contracted employee of One Love Festival first as their Licensing Manager and then running their Event Control onsite.
“I regret my role in this festival and the license breaches that took place, though feel I had a limited role in these, which was reflected, ultimately, by the prosecution.
“I had no association with One Love Festival before the event last September, nor since, but do work regularly in Somerset in the same roles including the successful Shindig Festival last weekend at Gilcombe Farm, Bruton.”