Fears voiced over new Petworth Fringe Festival

Jubilee celebrations in Petworth Square which could be closed for two weekends this summer
Jubilee celebrations in Petworth Square which could be closed for two weekends this summer

FEARS have been voiced that an ambitious new festival planned for Petworth may not be as much fun as it has been cracked up to be.

PetFringe is planned to be an expansion of the first event last year.

Organisers are aiming to put on some 15 performances and this year two major events are planned in the square closing it to traffic on Saturday July 2 and on Saturday and Sunday July 9-10.

They say they are aiming to entertain at least 1,000 paying ticket holders at the musical event in the Square on July 2 with live entertainemnt also in Rosemary’s Gardens. They also plan a food festival the following weekend

Organisers Andrew Carrington and Peter Drummond have now presented their plans to town councillors and asked for their support.

Maggie South told them she needed reassurances they had consulted people such as the business association as traders would be affected. She also wanted residents consulted as well as Petworth Festival Board who organise an established event, this year running from July 14-30.

“As a town council we have had to work amazingly hard on our public relations. I am supportive of you, but it would be a great sadness to me if a wedge was driven between certain factions in the town.”

She added: “I want reassurances everyone is happy for this to go ahead, otherwise I feel the town council will take the blame and we will be back to where we started and the hard work will be lost.

“This is about harmony and I would like the whole town to support it.”

Fellow councillor Roger Hanauer added: “It would be a very awkward situation for the town council if we were going to be seen to be supporting you against anyone else.”

He also had concerns about the closure of the square in the summer.

Town council chairman Chris Kemp said if councillors supported the event, they would have to offer their expertise to ensure it was a success.

A special meeting is to be held on January 28 to discuss giving town council support to PetFringe.

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