This is Mangotsfield, not Glastonbury
NEIGHBOURS say a dance music festival brought noise, traffic jams and drunken behaviour onto their doorsteps.
A group of Mangotsfield residents raised a petition of 150 signatures opposing the South West Dance Festival, staged at Cleve Rugby Football Club. They say the club in Cossham Street is not a suitable venue for the 5,000-capacity event, held in early August.
But the club says the money it receives from the organisers to host the event is vital to its finances, and it is doing what it can to minimise the impact on neighbours.
Around a dozen residents attended the September meeting of Emersons Green Town Council to complain about the all-day festival.
A spokeswoman for the residents, who asked not to be named, said some people spent the night away from their homes to avoid it.
The spokeswoman said: “There were people urinating in our gardens, we had taxis parked on our driveways so we couldn’t get out and people in cars dealing drugs openly.
“There was rubbish everywhere - we had to go out and clean it up afterwards.
“The road system was completely jammed to a halt - you couldn’t get out and we were being threatened when we tried to.”
The meeting was told that the noise of the bass from the festival was “shaking people’s houses” and that people had been seen lying on pavements and in the road outside the ground.
Another resident said: “This is Mangotsfield, not Glastonbury.”
Cleve RFC vice-chairman David Partington told councillors that the meeting had been told “lies” and a “misrepresentation of the truth” about the event - prompting an angry reaction from the residents present.
Mr Partington said that there had been no arrests at the festival, that people were searched for drugs on entry and that the club had employed its own security team to move people away from Cossham Street after it finished at 10pm. The maximum noise level had been lowered and monitored and there had been a total of six complaints to the club, he added.
He said: “We’re not doing this to spite the community, we’re doing it because we need the funds. Outside of the Wurzels festival it’s the single biggest money-making event.”
Town council chair Rich Nichols said the council had received five formal complaints about the event, while South Gloucestershire had received eight.
Town councillor Colin Hunt, who is also a member of South Gloucestershire Council, advised residents to challenge the event’s licence when an application is made next year.
But he said protesters should remember that Cleve was a “community club” and they should not try to “destroy” it.