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The Big Green Gathering 2009 Cancelled After Council Injunction Threat

Flagship green event, The Big Green Gathering was threatened with High Court injunction proceedings if they were unable to satisfy a number of concerns that Mendip District Council had. In a statement released today, Directors of The Big Green Gathering have been forced to cancel the 2009 festival, surrendering their license for the event.

The much loved and well attended family friendly green festival, which attracts around 20,000 visitors, caters for most tastes and covers many aspects of sustainability and environmental concerns. Activities on site would have included arts and crafts fields, a healing area where people can try alternative therapies and treatments, a children’s area and campaigns fields, as well as providing a range of eating and entertainment experiences for those attending, including music presented in tents powered by renewable energy.

Mendip District Council threatened the injunction, supported by the police, on grounds of concerns about security, requesting that The Big Green Gathering employed a security firm to satisfy their concern. Further concerns such as dissatisfaction that adequate signage directing visitors to the location of the festival and sufficient risk assessments, fire, policing and ambulance services were in place or could be put in place by the start of the festival on Wednesday added fuel to the council’s argument and left the directors of The Big Green Gathering with no alternative than to cancel the event.

Councillor Tom Killon said the council had tried to work closely with the organisers of the green festival to ensure smooth running of the event, and although the license for the event was granted on 30th June with the organisers being under the impression that any problems had been resolved, Killon said that the emergency services and council had remaining unconvinced that enough had been done to enable safe running of the event. He said,

“When there is a risk to public safety and the potential for crime and disorder then we have no other option but to ensure that the event does not take place.

“Although I accept that this will come as a disappointment to some, we have a duty to protect the public.”

The director’s statement echoes communications from Avon and Somerset Police, and urges people who were planning to attend the event not to make the journey as police would likely turn them away. They are keen to discourage confrontation and public disorder despite being fully aware of the unhappiness the decision to cancel the event will cause.

Posted in Environmental PoliticsGreen Leisure and TourismGreen LivingGreen Planet
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  1. Am I the only one to spotted, in all the publications of the cancellaton of the big green gathering, no mention of ticket refunds. At £125 per adult it is a lot of hard earned money to just forget.

    Posted by Billy Boyle July 27, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  2. Of course the organisers will be working on refunds – give them a chance – they have been desperatley trying to save the festival right up until yesterday afternoon. I am a trader there and my issue is with the council and police who have deliberately caused the closure of a peace loving festival that rarely has any ‘public order and crime’ problems. It is interesting that other more commercial festivals are allowed to go ahead with problems of drunkeness and violence – but thats ok as they are backed by multi million pound corporations – and yes I know the Big Green has been recently given funding by corporations but that is only since laws have been changed demanding more and more money from festivals under the guise of public protection ! Try every town in Britain on a Friday and Saturday night for public protection issues – not scenes you ever see at the Big Greeb Gathering. If you want to vent frustration please call 01749 648999 -Mendip District Council. I will be writing to them regarding loss of earnings – it is their fault not the organisers.

    Posted by Lou July 27, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink
  3. Thanks for that Billy and perhaps that will be mentioned in future mail outs.

    Perhaps the organisers, like myself, are reeling from a feeling of being totally shafted… this is such a peaceful, family event, that has always been very safely run. Reading above you would think that no one gives a toss about the public. Having attended the event since 1996 I know this just isn’t true.

    I am truly gutted about this decision, and was looking forward to another vital and inspiring gathering, at a time when we need the Green Movement more than ever. Perhaps we should actually think about the people involved here and not just the money.The Big Green Organisers have been battling with finding enough money for security etc. for at least the last 2 years. PS I am on an extremely low income.

    Posted by Flame July 27, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
  4. The whole story stinks of a corrupt intent behind the manouvers of the council to close and bankrupt the Big Green Gathering. Why leave till such a last mintute move, to issue an injunction when the council knew fully well that heavy expenses were being paid out by the Big Green’s organisers to facilitate the festival in trust that the council were happy with the Green’s organisers by evidence of granting a licence for the festival.
    I hope the organisers sue, and sue sucessfully and heavily. This stinks of big brother.

    Posted by Chris July 27, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
  5. i am trader,too nd the last thing on my mind is a or refund is not the not having a big green…and how the big brother has pulled the the last moment this has come from the top… IT NOT TO DO with security or fire or roads..we all know that the big green is the biggest safy festi out there ,a do not remeber seeing any trouble at any of the big green s ,in fact its the nly festi i feel safy at,, as last year i was attacked by 8 security guards and ended up in hospital for nearly two weeks ,and the old bill police did nothing saying it was my word against theres…. i have seen this more and more over the last few years the thugs on steroids moveing in. and making trouble where ther was no where do we go from big we let it rest…what has happend its not just at the big level i come from hastings,,where the police and council have closed down the old town with new rules not more than 6 people out side of a pub nobody out side after police cars pertroling up and down,, and this is old town hasting it was not a place that would have fights or kids on cheap vodka,,, but where older people would hang out at the weekends .how and why have we let england be turned in to a police state. and do we feel more safy,not me,,,

    Posted by Steve Danks July 27, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
  6. The council and police have deliberately caused the closure of this peace loving festival that rarely has any ‘public order and crime’ problems.

    Take a look at why it really got shut down..and u say the biggest green event in england is going to be continued?

    Posted by Shem July 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
  7. Mr Big Brother….There is no stopping what cant be stopped….

    Posted by Shem July 27, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
  8. Doesnt the council and the police realise that the more they push the harder people will push back, these so-called idiots who caused trouble at the g20 don’t need a festival to get their message out there and if pushed enough they will be forced underground where they won’t be able to monitor them, why don’t they spend their time and energy and a better, friendlier police presence at these festivals so that those of us who, are just interested in helping the enviroment (which is what the goverment say we should be doing)and,have now wasted not only money but a weeks holiday from work, (yes I work a 60 hour week pay tax to our so-called inteligent goverment)can camp in a field and relax.Yet again the majority are being punihed because of the minority.

    Posted by Susie B July 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  9. These conspiracy theories are great, but often the truth is far simpler, if the council had not waited as late as they could they would have been accused being unreasonable not giving BGG enough time to meet the requirements.
    At the end of the day its poor management. If you don’t pay people they won’t turn up, in you don’t submit an application it won’t get processed.
    I though they organised festivals for a living, you can’t go to the high court for the fun of it. You need evidence, a case.

    Posted by michael July 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm | Permalink
  10. I am disappointed on many accounts. The planners of BGG should have been better prepared for all these types of eventualities. For people who regularly organise festivals it is a bit pathetic. Probably a plot to shut down the BGG once and for all which is not acceptable!? A traders space is not cheap and unless I get a refund I will have lost a large part of my income for this year. We don’t only do this for fun you know. They could just get out the list of traders and open their cheque books. It is not very difficult to pay a refund.

    Posted by Trish August 12, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
  11. I too am disappointed and annoyed on many counts. i am not a trader, but i have bought a ticket and car parking space, took days off work etc. and lost money. There seesm to be ver little about refunds on the BGG website. They even say refunds cannot be guaranteed! does that mean that they had no insurance? I believe that the festival was cancelled for political reasons, The BGG had a very strong political undecurrent, which the government doesnt like. The explainations i have read for the canceallation from the local council are clearly bullshit, it seems utterly transparent that they were acting from orders from above.

    Posted by jethro August 12, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

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