Huge new music festival in York given the go ahead - here's who is already booked to appear

A huge new music festival in York has been given the green light – after City of York Council granted a licence for the event.

By Chloe Laversuch, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 28th February 2020, 10:29 am
Updated Friday, 28th February 2020, 10:30 am

But the organisers will not be able to have the music as loud as they wanted to – and a licence has only been granted for one year.

More than 17,000 tickets have already been sold for York Festival – a three-day event due to take place at York Sports Club this summer – with acts including Westlife, Lionel Richie and Madness.

The council’s public protection team said the planned noise levels – 75 decibels at some nearby homes – were too high.

Sign up to our daily The Scarborough News Today newsletter

Festival Crowd stock image. Picture: Getty

And some residents are worried about parking, noise and up to 20,000 people arriving at, or leaving, the venue in Shipton Road on June 19, 20 and 21.

Upgrade works take place on the East Coast Mainline that weekend and LNER has already warned of disruption to trains.

Phil Crier, solicitor speaking at the licensing meeting on behalf of the festival organisers, said 40 per cent of tickets already sold have been to people living in or around York and mainly to customers who are middle-aged women or “empty nesters”.

He said: “We are generally very excited about the prospect of bringing this event to York.

“There has been criticism of the fact that tickets have already been on sale. To secure international artists we need to be part of the programming calendar. You need to be ahead of the game. It’s not unusual.

“The risk is entirely the company’s – they would need to refund everyone if the licence was refused.”

He added the event could bring more than 300 jobs and up to £2m to the city’s economy – and that support acts include local bands.

Promoters Livenation – who also brought Rod Stewart to York Racecourse last summer – hope the festival will become an annual event.

Mr Crier added: “This is not for Iron Maiden or Motorhead – it’s for Westlife, Madness and – for goodness’ sake – Lionel Richie.”

But the council’s public protection team said planned noise levels were too high – and that no venue in the city had ever had permission to play above 65 decibels.

Michael Golightly from the council said: “We are not against the holding of a music festival but our approach has to remain in protecting the public from public nuisance.

“This venue is not an arena with all the associated infrastructure. The difference of 10 decibels is a perceived doubling of the noise.”

Cllr Sam Waudby, who represents Rawcliffe and Clifton Without, raised concerns about parking, noise and public safety.

And one resident said his worries had not been addressed.

But another neighbour said: “We are very excited about having such an event on our doorstep.”

A licence was granted – with noise levels at 65 decibels or below.