Agenda item

Amendments to the Festivals and Events Policy


The Visitor Economy and Events Development Manager presented her report proposing amendments to the Festival and Events Policy relating to noise levels and the frequency of events and also providing an overview of events in the Council’s parks in 2019.  It was noted that:


·  Maidstone was now recognised as a key destination for large events and festivals comparing favourably with other major towns and cities around the UK.  In 2019 Mote Park was booked almost every weekend during the events season.  It was calculated that the three largest events in the Park had a combined economic impact of over £3.1m for the Borough.


·  It was proposed to amend the Festival and Events Policy to increase the number of category A events in Mote Park from up to 2 to up to 5 per annum and the maximum number of days from 6 to 12 of which a maximum of 8 days can be music events.


·  The proposed amendment would allow more flexibility with events.  The Ramblin Man Fair was currently a category A event that takes place over 3 days.  The second category A event was the Revival and Big Top Live weekend.  All other events were category B or C.


·  According to the Policy non-music events that had a significant impact on the parks or the surrounding area were classed as category A.  The increase in the size and scale of many charity runs and walks required them to be re-classified as category A.  They could have a major impact on the roads and the park use.  It was now necessary to increase the number of category A events to accommodate the growth of these events.


·  One day category A events might lessen the impact to residents rather than two events of up to three days. Ramblin Man was established as a three-day event but the remaining 3 days could be spread out over a longer period rather than another weekend event.  A current enquiry for a high-profile one-day music event could not be confirmed as the limit had been reached on Category A events for 2020.  This event could attract 10-15,000 people and provide an event for a mature target audience.


·  The proposed amendment would provide enough flexibility to allow the natural growth of events whilst still placing limitations on the number of noisier music events.  It was not anticipated that all the event days would be used for category A events nor that all permitted to be a category A would reach the higher noise limits.  Without the amendment, should any significant opportunities arise, the Council would not be able to respond quickly enough.


·  Whatman Park was not suitable for a Category A event and had never been used for an event of that size.  It was proposed that the Policy be amended to limit events in Whatman Park to Category B.


In response to questions, the Officers explained that:


·  Most event promoters had event insurance as a matter of course.


·  The income targets for events were challenging and the proposed amendments to the Policy would help in achieving them.


During the discussion, concerns were expressed that the Festival and Events Policy was out of date and needed to be amended to reflect the current situation and changes to legislation.  It was suggested that in the longer term, a Festival and Events Policy was required for the use of the Council’s parks and open spaces for events and an Events Strategy that would sit more comfortably with the Arts and Culture Strategy and the Destination Management Plan.




1.  That the proposed amendments to the Festivals and Events Policy set out in the report of the Visitor Economy and Events Development Manager be agreed.


2.  That the Head of Regeneration and Economic Development be given delegated powers in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee to update the Festival and Events Policy to reflect the current situation and changes to legislation.


3.  That the draft version of the updated Festival and Events Policy should be circulated to all Members of the Committee so that any comments they may have can be taken into account when the delegation is exercised.

Supporting documents: