Home   Medway   News   Article

Medway Council aims to avoid repeating Katherine Jenkins debacle with new event policies

Plans for a three-day music festival in Medway have restarted after falling apart earlier in the year.

New proposals for the currently titled Great Lines Music Festival are under way, with the event set to take place in August.

Katherine Jenkins was due to perform. Picture: David Venni
Katherine Jenkins was due to perform. Picture: David Venni

Cabinet members said the council was in a much better position to avoid the mistakes and damage of the previous administration’s attempt to run a festival in the Great Lines Heritage Park in Gillingham due to new processes and a new operator to run the event.*

The festival was announced in December last year, with opera star Katherine Jenkins being revealed as a headline act in January.

It was due to take place in May but due to police concerns about noise and traffic problems and a rejected licence application it was abruptly cancelled.

However, a new proposal has been made for a four-day festival to take place in the summer which the council hopes will be more successful due to the new outdoor events policies that were passed at the latest full council meeting on October 19.

Council leader Cllr Vince Maple (Lab) referenced the debacle of the previous attempt to run the festival, and the poor management of other events in the past**.

He said: “When this council is being asked for refunds about Katherine Jenkins, that’s a problem.

Council leader Cllr Vince Maple
Council leader Cllr Vince Maple

“History shows us, in recent years, when this council, under its previous administration, ran concerts, we ran up a bill of several hundred thousand pounds. We can’t afford to do that.

“We saw previously, under the previous administration, events happening on green spaces, damage happening, and no recompense, no replacement, no refurbishment. That’s now not going to happen because the policy is really clear on that.”

The festival will be the first event to be approved under the council’s new outdoor planning policies which aims to ensure quality, security, and professionalism of outdoor events held in the Towns.

The new guidelines were put forward at the latest full council meeting and passed with support from Labour and independent members, but the Conservative group voted against, saying they were too restrictive and would put off smaller groups from organising events.

At the cabinet meeting, members said that the new rules would ensure that problems which had plagued the previous attempt to run the festival would not happen again.

The operator for the festival has been changed from Stardust Festivals Ltd, which was responsible for the previous attempt, to Festivals Master Ltd.

Cllr Harinder Mahil speaks about the changes
Cllr Harinder Mahil speaks about the changes
Medway Council's cabinet met this week
Medway Council's cabinet met this week

The new providers are part of a family of companies responsible for venues and festivals across the country, including O2 Victoria Warehouse in Manchester and We Are FSTVL in Essex.

Cllr Harinder Mahil (Lab), portfolio holder for heritage, culture and leisure, said: “This is a different organisation that will be delivering this. It’s important to note that their experience is considerable.

“This is not a new kid on the block, this is very much an experienced organisation.”

He also said that it was important that the authority has the ambition to put on large entertainment events such as the festival, but also that it was good to have the set of rules in place already so that they run smoothly, safely, and with minimal disruption for residents.

The report at the cabinet meeting included a list of upcoming consultation events with councillors, businesses, and friends of and stakeholder groups, where concerns and solutions to problems will be discussed.

The cabinet approved the plans moving to the next stage which will see the further development of how the festival will come together.

*Medway Council has asked us to make clear the authority wasn’t previously in charge of running the event, it has appointed Stardust Festivals Ltd to do it.

**Although this was a direct quote from Cllr Maple, the council has asked us to clarify he was referring to the Castle Concerts before they were run by outside company AGMP.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More