Music event will go ahead say organisers who have battled on despite sense of injustice

By Neil Speight

23rd Aug 2022 | Local News

The show will go on. Sound expert Kacy White (left) and Red Room's Lewis Graham at the Crooked Billet.
The show will go on. Sound expert Kacy White (left) and Red Room's Lewis Graham at the Crooked Billet.

ORGANISERS of a music event scheduled to take place in Stanford-le-Hope next month have confirmed the show will go on – albeit not as big as first intended.

The event planned for the Billet Playing Fields on Saturday, 10 September has been subject to a campaign of opposition led by local ward councillor Shane Hebb.

The council appear to have jumped through hoops to find reasons to back up Cllr Hebb's opposition, and that of some residents and his fellow ward councillor Terry Piccolo, even though the grounds for doing so appear very contestable.

At a recent meeting of the council's licencing committee, a decision was made to refuse the organisers, Red Room Records, a licence for the event as originally planned – even though the council had already accepted a booking and taken payment for hire of the land.

And the objections raised by Cllr Hebb at the meeting were refuted in detail by Red Room's representatives, who believe the council has little or no justification for its decision.

It is possible they may take legal action against the council, seeking costs and loss of earnings compensation.

In the immediate aftermath of the licencing committee decision, Red Room announced it would scale down its plans and run an event using the existing premises and events licence at the Billet and by applying for smaller temporary event licences for part use of the field – which the council was obliged to grant.

And indeed they were granted – only, Nub News understands, for the council then to refuse use of the field on the grounds it is not suitable for music events!

That would appear to scupper mooted plans to transfer Stanford's annual music festival event run by Cllr Piccolo and other members of the town's forum to the Billet next year.

Despite all the obstacles, the organisers plan to stage an event on Saturday, 10 September and have announced that 'Red Room in the Park' will definitely be happening, centred on the pub and its car park. Tickets are already on sale (https://redroomrecords.co.uk/) – and many of the 'early bird options' have already sold out.

It is possible that there will be a loss suffered by Red Room to stage the event, but Red Room's Lewis Graham says what matters is that the principle of holding a legal event is followed through.

He says: "Those who have been following progress leading up to the event will be aware that our premises license application was, in our opinion, wrongly refused by Thurrock Council. After hearing both sides and our extensive plans covering all points raised by the opposition original license was somehow still refused.

"It is safe to say that that both myself and all my team remain in absolute shock considering we have accepted every stipulation and condition imposed on our license by all the various parties within the authority.

"The application was originally refused based on egress, which for those that don't know is patrons leaving the venue.

"We had fully documented our egress plan for the event and had measures in place such as a staggered stage closure, to ensure not everyone leaves at the same time and to redeploy security and stewarding staff along the entire route to the train station to usher the crowd away from the venue in a timely manner and minimise disruption to residents.

"Considering most of the objections we received were "noise related", it made no sense to refuse the license based on egress with no explanation considering this land has a precedence for hosting music festivals previously. They were of a larger capacity and with less measures in place.

"However, us applying for our own license was more of a formality rather than a requirement and we have, under existing licensing legislation. applied for and been successful in obtaining a license to stage our music festival on Saturday, 10 September albeit in a slightly different layout, across the Crooked Billet Complex.

"So, I am delighted to announce the show will go on and we cannot wait to welcome everyone of you to our first ever festival.

"Myself and the team have all worked incredibly hard on bringing this project to life given the challenges we have faced.

"Stanford-le-Hope is our home where Red Room was born back in 2018 and it means even more to us to be hosting this event around our friends, family and followers in the heart of our local community.

"We have a heavy focus of local and emerging talent for this event as well as some of the best international house music artists on the circuit.

"So without further ado, the countdown is on, see you all on Saturday, 10 September in the sunshine."

     

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