Ebernoe Festival given go-ahead

Happier times: Ebernoe villagers pose for a historic 'big picture' at their jubilee celebrations
Happier times: Ebernoe villagers pose for a historic 'big picture' at their jubilee celebrations

RESIDENTS in Ebernoe are furious after a festival was granted permission to be held there, despite “drugs being openly available at the event.”

Councillors and residents are up in arms about the ‘Mischief Festival’ due to take place this weekend, from Friday until Monday (September 20-23).

The event comprises a schedule of camping and entertainments and has a licence for the sale of alcohol.

On the festival’s Facebook page, more than 2,000 people have confirmed their attendance, around 1,000 have said they ‘might’ be going, while a further 27,906 people have been invited.

A premises licence was refused by both Chichester District Council (CDC) and the police, who were concerned about safety and the prevention of crime and disorder.

However, it has now been issued two temporary events notices, also known as TEN’s licences, for three days.

The two organisers have each been granted a licence, both of which allow for up to 499 people on the site.

The festival location is not revealed online, but printed only on tickets.

It takes place across six stages, with live music, cabaret, burlesque and circus acts.

Councillor Alastair Ford is the chairman of Ebernoe Parish Council. Mr Ford said: “Our main concern was the noise.

“There is nothing we can do about a temporary licence and we have no input now.

“We had a hunch they might try and do this.

“According to someone last year, drugs were freely available within 15 minutes of entering the festival.”

A spokesman for CDC said: “The event organisers initially applied to hold the festival on a permanent basis, however, the council’s alcohol and entertainment licensing sub committee had various concerns about the event and turned down the application at a recent hearing.

“Following the hearing, the organisers approached the council and the police and then submitted two Temporary Event Notices including significant amendments to the event management plan, greatly reduced attendance numbers and reduced hours.

“The council is working closely with the police and monitoring the arrangements to make sure that the organisers comply with the terms of the event notices.

“The council has also issued noise abatement notices on the event organisers and the landowner to minimise any disruption.”

County and District Councillor Janet Duncton said: “There was a meeting at CDC for this organisation for a permanent licence giving them between 1800 and 5000 people for three days each year and this went to a panel who, along with the police, refused this application.

“It is all very odd and not a happy situation.”