The first festival casualty of the summer – The Glade

The Glade – electronic dance music festival, has been cancelled today because of financial difficulties, forced on to the organisers by over stringent security measures by the local police. Their statement actually blames the increasingly strict licensing laws, which since the early 90’s have often created sterile and over-officiated festivals and outdoor concerts.

‘As many Glade fans will know over the years we have fought hard to maintain the integrity of the event against steadily increasing restrictions imposed by local authority and police. The resulting compromises have led to increased costs, increased ticket prices and a throttling of the very essence of what we wanted to do. It led to us finally having to move from the lovely Wasing estate due to late night noise restrictions and the police’s demands for an ever-increasing security and police presence at the event.’

The Glade organisers were trying to create a dance festival that symbolized the halcyon days of a bygone age. Since the Criminal Justice Act was introduced in 1994 by the John Major led government, each succesive government has increased its tightening of social and civic rights. With a new coalition government announced today we can only hope that this incoming regime will not seek to increase the stranglehold on liberties on what is already viewed as a nanny state. The music festival industry in the UK is a very succesful model among the global market, why rip the heart out of it with draconian and unneccessary legislation?

To solely blame the local police, along with the law changers, however, is probably a little too simplistic and polarized. The festival moved sites last year from Berkshire, again blaming bureaucratic mandates. Although the latest site at Matterly Bowl estate in Hampshire is much larger in size and has a history of dance festivals – including the legendary Homelands. Together with more bands and stages than ever before the promoters certainly stretched their funds, and fan base! In a time of economic austerity, relocating to a larger site and increasing both the scale and the dynamics of the festival was probably a little foolhardy. Many smaller festivals folded last year and only the highly publicised and long-standing festivals are economically buoyant. The market for small festivals is highly competitive and if a rival can leverage any kind of advantage, like lobbying a local council to put the squeeze on security then they will seek it out for survival!

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