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Laxy Commissioners Confirm Festival Support
5th July 2005
At a meeting at the offices of the Laxey Commissioners last week (29th June 2005) after a frank exchange of views it was agreed that the Laxey Commissioners would support the 2006 Big Wheel Blues Festival provided the date was changed to avoid the school exam period and that the Main Stage was moved from the Station site.
The almost two hours long meeting was held as a post Festival 2005 de-briefing and most interests were represented: The Police, The Department of Tourism, The Laxey Traders Association, Local Licencees, Commissioners and the Festival Organiser.
The Festival Organiser presented his report of the 2005 Festival to the Commissioners (which can be read in full by clicking here) and the meeting heard that 2005 had been the best attended Festival in it's history and that despite losing the venue for the Main Stage at the 11th hour and the 59th minute, through no fault of the Festival, the Blues Marquee in Laxey Station had proved to be very successful and he paid tribute to the small army of local, unpaid musicians who make the Festival such an inspiring musical event. He concluded by telling the meeting that whilst the few who are inconvenienced and irriatated by the Festival must be listened to and accommodated where possible, they must surely not be allowed undue influence over the future of the entire Festival, at the expense of the overwhelming majority who are still so supportive.
But the meeting heard that complaints had been received of some pretty poor behaviour by some young Festival-goers particularly in the Glen Road area and that the amounts of litter around the village were unacceptable. The Dept of Tourism and Leisure, who own the Station, were concerned by the numbers of people in the station and apparently drivers of trams felt intimidated and would not work late (which perhaps explains why the evening and late night transport to and from Laxey has always been so poor). On the whole the Laxey Traders Association were happy with the event although the litter and poor behaviour of some fans was noted. Richard Henthorn, a Laxey Commissioner, whilst echoing the concerns of others was strongly in favour of the Festival and pointed out it's benefits to the community and suggested that if the Main Stage was moved to The Valley Gardens for 2006 most concerns would be met. The Police represented by Inspector David Duke were broadly supportive of the Festival but strong concerns were raised about the behaviour of some of the younger fans and under age drinking, possibly the result of carry-outs being brought to Laxey.
The Chairman of Laxey Commissioners, David Owens, concluded by saying that the Festival was a good thing for Laxey and that the Commissioners want it to continue albeit with some changes. Those proposed, include changing the date to avoid the exam study period for GCSE students, a new location for the Blues Marquee away from the Station, possibly in the Valley Gardens (Washing Floors) and further attention to litter problems and under-age drinking.
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