Memorandum submitted by David Berry

 

 

I am secretary to the Committee of the Lichfield Folk Festival, which occurs during the 3rd week end in June.  This year's was the 33rd festival.  We are affiliated to the English Folk Dance & Song Society

 

Our hosts are one of the secondary schools in Lichfield and in previous years we have had no venue problems.  However, the Act is now being implemented and this year, we found that we were suddenly refused permission to use the school on Sunday 22nd June because the school did not have a licence for Sundays.  They have a 6 day licence but their application for a temporary licence for Sunday was not received with the necessary 10 working days' notice and had been rejected.  The police object to all such applications and we were told (48 hours before the start of the festival) that there was no point in appealing against this but, instead to find another venue. 

We applied to one of the other secondary schools, discovered that they had a 7 day licence, we not booked, and we booked the Sunday with them.  The result was that all 300 plus of us, had to transfer across town to the second site on the Sunday morning, with a lot of consequential extra work in re-sign posting, new catering and setting up of equipment etc.  We managed because of the flexibility and understanding of our clients but it was a near thing.

At present we are about to start planning for festival '09 and are liaising with the law officers at Lichfield District Council, to ensure there are no repeats next year.  This will mean that, as organisers, we will have to raise Temporary Event Notices for each of our venues next year and every year thereafter, at a cost of 21 each.

The new Act is not more simple in its operation than the old one.  It is also more costly to us; indeed, it nearly cost us a cancellation this year.

 

October 2008