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Rochester Castle Concerts drink ban defended by Medway Council

Medway Council has responded to the outrage caused over banning drinks at the Castle Concerts.

The acts for this year were announced earlier today on KMFM.

An announcement was made on the Castle Concerts Facebook page regarding the new policy to ban soft and alcoholic drinks from being bought to the performances.

The crowds at Rochester Castle last year. Credit: Steve Crispe
The crowds at Rochester Castle last year. Credit: Steve Crispe

The post read: “After many years of allowing soft drinks and alcohol into the Castle Concerts, to ensure overall safety and enjoyment, we will now be adhering to standard industry procedures, similar to other concerts of this nature.

“Therefore, no drinks - except for sealed bottles of water - will be allowed into the Castle Concerts.

“Drinks will be allowed to be brought in for the Saturday night Proms only but no glass is permitted with the exception of champagne, sparkling wine, prosecco etc in sealed, pressurised corked bottles.

"Food can be brought in for all five nights.”

Hundreds of people shared their disgust at the decision and suggesting they will boycott the performances.

The decision was slammed by Medway Labour group which said in a statement it was a "disappointing decision".

Those enjoying the Proms can still bring their own glass of bubbly. Picture: Steve Crispe
Those enjoying the Proms can still bring their own glass of bubbly. Picture: Steve Crispe

Group leader Cllr Vince Maple said: “Once again it is one rule for us and a different rule for them. The decision to allow champagne and prosecco into the Proms night and not the other nights is nothing short of snobbish and the people of Medway won’t stand for it.

“If this were truly about health and safety they would be banning outside drinks from each night of the event. Medway has always had a great music scene and the Castle Concerts have always been really well attended by locals, myself included.

“The council stands to alienate a huge number of music lovers, and there are already talk on social media of boycotting the event because of their decision; people are worried about the price of drinks, potentially long queues, and the unfairness of the rules.”

But the council has defended the decision saying it is following live music event best practice. 

UB40 will be the only ones bringing Red, Red Wine to this year's concert
UB40 will be the only ones bringing Red, Red Wine to this year's concert

Carl Madjitey, Head of Events at Medway Council, said: “The Castle Concerts are a fun, family event with thousands of people filling the grounds to listen to world-wide known entertainers.

"This year we will not be allowing any drink, except plastic sealed bottles of water, into the castle grounds to ensure we have another safe and enjoyable concerts. This follows live music event best practice, which other large and outdoor venues across the UK adhere to. 

“To embrace the celebratory nature of the proms and because the evening is a picnic-style event and not a live music concert, drinks will be allowed in the castle. However, for safety reasons, no glass will be allowed into the castle grounds.”

Sparking Wines and Champagne bottles are being allowed in as they are pressurised and so not as likely to cause injury.


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