Cancelled Colchester I Am Music Festival 'a debacle'

Scouting for Girls Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Scouting for Girls were due to play at the festival in Castle Park in Colchester town centre

A council that withdrew permission for a music festival with just two days' notice has called the organisation of the event a "complete debacle".

The I Am Music Festival was expected to attract up to 8,500 people to Castle Park, Colchester on Saturday.

Colchester Borough Council withdrew permission for it, citing concerns over safety and security.

But organisers of the festival accused the council of not being "willing to engage" over the event.

They said they had provided all the requested information.

The event was due to feature indie-rock band Scouting For Girls, rapper Chipmunk, boy-band Union J and local X Factor finalist Sam Callahan and 3,000 tickets had been sold.

The council withdrew permission to use its park on Thursday, claiming there was a failure to provide adequate security, fencing and toilets for the event.

Unyime Udo, a director of organisers I Am Music Community Group, said it had given assurances to the council but that the authority's representatives "were not willing to accept the plans and engage with us further to keep the event on track".

Image caption Tickets for the one-day music and community festival were sold at £42

Tim Young, the council's portfolio holder for public safety, said: "The onus and blame lies purely with the organisers - we asked for a number of assurances over the past three weeks and they couldn't provide them.

"It was a complete debacle and if they want to try and hold it on another date, it would be my recommendation that it was not on council land."

An Essex Police spokesman said: "We were not able to confirm to Colchester Borough Council that the festival would be safe from a crime and disorder perspective. We fully support the council in their decision."

The organisers said refunds were available and they were hoping to restage the event.

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