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Wednesday, 28 March, 2001, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Festivals feel foot-and-mouth effect
Festival crowd
Fans may have to walk over disinfected pads
This summer's outdoor music festivals are feeling the effects of the foot-and-mouth outbreak, with one postponed and others waiting until their fates are decided.

There are fears that the movement of large numbers of people around country could spread the disease.

The Bishopstock Blues Festival, one of the biggest blues festivals in Europe, has been put back from 26-28 May to the end of August because of the disease.

The site is in Devon, one of the worst-hit areas in the country. Organisers hope that the situation will improve enough for the event to go ahead over the August bank holiday.

UK festival diary
All Tomorrow's Parties (6-8 April)
Mezzanine Mayday Ball (6 May)
Planet Love, Belfast (6-7 May)
Homelands England (26 May)
Ozzfest (26 May)
Gatecrasher Summer Soundsystem (16 June)
T In The Park (7-8 July)
The Big Festival (27-29 July)
WOMAD (27-29 July)
Ministry @ Knebworth (11 Aug)
V2001 (18-19 Aug)
Reading Festival (24-26 Aug)
Leeds Festival (25-27 Aug)
Creamfields (26 Aug)
A statement on their website said: "Regrettably this is an unavoidable decision forced upon us by prevailing government restrictions."

It also says that any rescheduled event will try to "maintain the integrity" of the original bill, which included Ray Charles, Buddy Guy and Taj Mahal.

Also under threat is Homelands dance festival, which is expected to attract 50,000 people to land near Winchester, Hampshire. Promoters Mean Fiddler insist the festival will go ahead as planned.

Melvin Benn, festival director, said: "There have been no cases of foot-and-mouth reported in the near vicinity and the farmer himself has a quiet confidence that his actions and the government's actions will result in the festival taking place."

'Cause for concern'

But the local council has expressed reservations. "My gut feeling is this event will more than likely be cancelled or postponed," said Simon Parker, emergency planning officer for Hampshire county council.

Winchester city council's head of licensing, Fred Masters, told Music Week magazine: "It is a cause for concern because Homelands could, in effect, cause an outbreak.

"As the situation stands at the moment, personally I'd expect the local landowning farmer to be strung from the nearest tree if this event goes ahead."

Mean Fiddler has said that adequate precautionary measures will be taken.

Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker
Pulp are due to play at Homelands
The Mezzanine May Day Ball, a dance event in Milton Common, near Oxford, is scheduled to go ahead on 6 May.

But organisers will take steps to reduce the risk of spreading the disease, including scrapping car parking and asking ticket-holders to use park-and-ride buses which will drive over disinfected pads on their way into the site.

The site has not had livestock on it for five years, and will be fully floored, reducing the risk of spreading the infection, according to promoter Ali Jobe.

Wait and see

All Tomorrow's Parties goes ahead as planned at Pontins in Camber Sands, East Sussex with no restrictions because the event is being held in a holiday camp in an area with no reported outbreaks.

Other festivals are scheduled for later in the year, meaning that organisers are waiting to see how the spread of the disease develops before making changing any plans.

The site of the Leeds Festival is currently closed due to foot-and-mouth, but Leeds City Council has said that preparation for the festival is continuing.

Red Hot Chilli Peppers
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers will play V2001
They are hoping that Temple Newsam Park will be reopened by the end of August, when the festival is due to take place.

Fans wanting to go to the Reading and Womad Festivals - which both take place at the Rivermead Leisure Complex in Reading - have been given assurances that the events will take place.

Organisers of the Reading Festival are making "significant" contingency plans to change site, but Reading borough council has said that there is a "high probability" that the events will remain unaffected.

"Reading at present is not known to be a disease exposed area," said the council's emergency planning officer, Arthur Rabjohn.

"In addition, the events are four to five months away and the disease control strategy of close down and catch up should have had a marked effect within that timescale."

Planning for T In The Park, which will attract 50,000 music fans per day to Kinross, central Scotland, at the beginning of July, is going ahead at "the usual pace", according to a statement.

'Reasonable steps'

"The organisers of T in the Park are monitoring the foot-and-mouth situation and its implications for this year's event very closely, and are taking advice from all the relevant bodies," it said.

Glastonbury Festival 2000
Glastonbury was cancelled in January
The new Big Festival, to be held in Milton Keynes Bowl, has scrapped plans for camping at the site - but the event will go ahead.

V2001 is due to take place in Weston Park, Staffordshire and Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex, on 18-19 August.

Festival director Bob Angus said he is in constant contact with the council and the sites' management - but he is "ploughing on full steam ahead."

Any decision to stop the events would come from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, he said.

Chelmsford Borough Council said that Hylands Park is currently open, but with disinfectant pads at entrances and exits.

Michael Eavis, farmer and organiser of the Glastonbury Festival, has said that his event definitely would have been cancelled this year - if he had not already chosen to scrap it due to security fears.

See also:

20 Mar 01 | Wales
Disease cancels youth festival
17 Mar 01 | Europe
Down in the mouth in Ireland
08 Mar 01 | Background
Cheltenham Festival postponed
05 Mar 01 | UK
Muslim festival disrupted
04 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Glastonbury 2001 cancelled
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