Last week saw another of Britain’s independant festival efforts quashed under Police misbehaviour. Glade festival, due to take place the weekend of the 15th July was cancelled just days after the festival was granted licence. The official statement by Glade organisers (www.gladefestival.com) was although they fought tooth-and-nail for the integrity of the event, increasing restrictions in by Police and local authorites have resulted in increased costs, security and a ‘throttling’ of the Glade spirit.
This years increased restrictions and intransigence by the police by delaying negotiations and otherwise being belligerent, coupled with unexpected legal fees and have driven the costs through the roof and Glade had to pull the plug. The festival that prides itself on non-sponsorship has sought to provide an environment where people could express themselves freely without the over-policing of more mainstream festivals. The majority of the ticket budget would be used to provide an atmosphere for the festival and multiple stages where aspiring artists could play alongside more renowned ones. In a statement Glade organisers “have explored every way we can to keep the event going and unfortunately… we have been unable to secure sufficient financial backing and scaling back the event, to a level where we can be confident we could pay all out bills would mean losing smaller venues and the quirkiness that make up the heart and soul of the festival”.
The good news for Glade patriots is you can swap out your ticket for the Big Chill festival in August and save yourself £20. Big Chill was originally run by Chillfest Limited until voluntary liquidation is September last year, due to poor ticket sales. It is now being run by Festival Republic, a subsidiary of the Mama Group which backs festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Latitude.
The recession has put pressure on the smaller festivals to ensure sufficient funding and ticket interest. Strawberry Fair, usually held in Cambridge is another independent festival that had to pull the plug due to Cambridgeshire Police. An appeal was considered but the hearing would have taken place too close to the festival to be able to confirm traders and artists. It’s becoming a trend that the Police are determined to drive the wedge into festivals and Glade collapsed under an extra bill of £100,000 for Policing, security and last-minute licencing laws. They had not other choice but to hand their punters over to the bigger boys.
In the wake of the atrocities of last years Big Green Gathering; which saw the festival brought to its knees from political pressure. There has been a definite shift in the way Police have tackled festivals, giving the smaller festivals the brunt of the hassle. Reports from previous years say Police presence at Glade was focused on information gathering, with the Police holding an observational standpoint. One Glade patriot told LNG “It seemed like they were just watching us, relaying what they saw back to H.Q over their walkie-talkies, it was pretty unsettling”.
The increased pressure on festivals and the increases in costs and licensing laws has seen several more festivals cancelled this year. What’s being left behind is the hollow face of an idea of festival culture that got quashed, watered-down and sold back to us at increased cost. The Big-Bad-Mean-Fiddler is determined to turn festivals into an over-policed, taxable, money-making organisation, void of all the creativity and love from traders and artists that gave the scene it’s quirky magic in the first place. Glade went down fighting for the integrity of the festival scene and the whole while the Police have been blatantly obstructive.
The resulting reaction from the burned ravers is to take matters underground. A group unconnected to Glade has created a Facebook page to try and ‘free’ Glade festival from oppression. The group has already amassed over 6,000 users and there is a real will to lend all manor of skills and services. The ravers are determined to have their party legally, or not so, and to wave the fingers firmly in the air at any who oppose them. So if you too are feeling the pinch of the ‘man’ and feel the need to wave your arms defiantly in the air while listening to booming psy trance go to http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=125730917438818&v=app_2373072738&ref=ts#!/group.php?gid=125730917438818&v=wall&ref=ts and join the dance revolution!