‘Unsafe’ festival is axed

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‘Unsafe’ festival is axed

nlnews@archant.co.uk
06 August 2009

A TWO-day fashion and music festival in Finsbury Park has been scrapped just four days before it was set to take place – after police raised “serious safety concerns”.

Police claimed organisers of the first ever Africa Caribbean Asia Fashion Week would struggle to cope with up to 10,000 visitors expected to take over the park on Saturday and Sunday.

A panel of councillors, prompted by fears for public safety, refused to give the festival approval at a licensing meeting on Monday.

Now critics fear the streets will be awash with revellers – many of whom have already bought tickets to the charity gig, expecting to see big-named artists like rapper Sway.

Haringey councillor Ron Aitken, who sat on the licensing committee, said: “Unfortunately, the application did not demonstrate the organiser could give a reasonable assurance of public safety, so it was turned down. So we may have several thousand people turning up on Saturday and Sunday with nothing to do.”

The festival was set to take place from 2pm-7pm on both days and feature live music, dance and a catwalk modelling show to raise money for charities, including the Great Ormond Street Hospital and Christian Aid.

Sergeant Simon Willmott, of Haringey police football and events office, said: “Police had serious concerns about public safety due to the inadequacy of the event management plan presented by the organiser and the inexperience of the people that were expected to deliver and be responsible for the event.

“Police attended the licensing meeting on Monday night and made these representations to the council licensing committee, along with other organisations that also raised concerns.

“If the proposed performers were advertised, there is the possibility of numbers above 9,999 being attracted to the event.”

Residents had also raised concerns over noise and revelry, claiming neighbours’ peace and quiet would be destroyed.

Now organiser Kate Ajike will have to cancel the event and gives refunds on tickets, the majority of which had already been sold. The 23-year-old from Enfield said before the meeting: “I think people are missing the main aspect here – it is a charity festival, we finish at 7pm both nights and we are not here to make a profit.”

A council spokesman said: “It was declined because the applicant was unable to submit a clear, well thought-out, event management plan to satisfy us that she could uphold public safety objectives.

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