Festival company served with prohibition notice as event is pulled

A special festival for vegans that was to be held in Derbyshire has been cancelled after being served a prohibition notice.

The notice – which has been served on the event organiser, the company and the owner of the campsite venue – will ensure that the Vegan Camp Out festival, which Derbyshire County Council said posed a significant health risk to Derbyshire residents and those attending, cannot lawfully take place.

The festival, which was due to be held at the Riddings Wood Caravan Park near Alfreton, had promised a host of musical acts, a fitness, yoga, health and meditation tent, and “activism” and family areas and was expected to attract a crowd of 1,000 people.

Applications for a temporary event and the selling of alcohol were withdrawn from Amber Valley Borough Council earlier this week, but the council has continued with planned action to serve prohibition notices using Coronavirus Act powers to ensure that no gatherings can take place regardless of the licence process.

As of 10.20am on Wednesday 16 September the festival was still being advertised online, with ticket sales being reported as ‘sold out’ and social media channels not announcing cancellation.

Councillor Barry Lewis, council leader and chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “We have been clear from the outset that this event should not go ahead. Whilst recognising that the organiser has withdrawn the licence applications we cannot take the risk that any gathering which does not have the proper measures in place will go ahead, hence serving the prohibition notices today.

“It would be irresponsible in the extreme for any event of this kind, where adequate measures could not be implemented, to go ahead at a time when coronavirus infections are rising across the country.”

Director of public health Dean Wallace, said the event would pose an unacceptable risk: “This event proposed to bring together hundreds of people from across the country in a way which could not guarantee that adequate social distancing could take place, would not have suitable infection control measures and would see alcohol served which we know reduces people’s ability to observe the precautions we all need to take.

“I look forward to a time when such events can take place again but unfortunately now is not that time. The infection rate is rising rapidly across the country and our efforts to work with the organisers did not see us receive anything like the assurances we needed about the festival.

“We must prioritise the health and wellbeing of those who live in and visit our county in the midst of this pandemic.”

Leader of Amber Valley Borough Council, Councillor Chris Emmas-Williams said: “Local people have been extremely concerned about a large influx of people arriving on their doorsteps in these unprecedented times. We are therefore very pleased that the county council is taking this action which will provide peace of mind to everyone living near the proposed venue.”