Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 18:26 UK

Festival pulled over Doherty ban

Pete Doherty
Pete Doherty plans to play a free concert at another venue

A music festival in Wiltshire has been cancelled after a court refused to allow Babyshambles to perform on stage.

Pete Doherty's group had been due to headline Moonfest, in Westbury, on Friday but police said organisers had not hired enough stewards.

Organiser John Green said he decided to cancel the entire weekend event "due to the ramifications presented to us by the actions of the police."

Pete Doherty's manager Andy Boyd said he was "livid" at the court's decision.

But Wiltshire Police said it obtained the ban because it was "seriously concerned for public safety".

Superintendent Paul Williams said: "The issue is not the act itself, it is the profile of fans that follow the act.

"Wiltshire police do not have an issue with Pete Doherty or Babyshambles."

'Wholly inadequate'

He said the force had sought expert advice about crowd safety at festivals and it had been decided in court the proposed safety measures for the event, to be held from 29-31 August, were "wholly inadequate".

Sales have been increasing quite dramatically and we were expecting quite lot of people to turn up at the gate as well
John Green, festival organiser

Superintendent Williams added North Wiltshire magistrates were "satisfied that there was a likelihood of disorder" so the decision was made to close Friday night's event.

"We are not killjoys and we help organisers with many events throughout the year and some are much larger than this one," he said.

The ban was implemented under section 160 of the 2003 Licensing Act, which allows courts to close premises where there is "disorder or expected disorder".

But Mr Green said: "The number of security guards and stewards was listed in our event management plan which was presented and accepted at the public hearing which the police attended."

Free show

Babyshambles' manager, Andy Boyd, said he thought the court's decision was "outrageous", and added that Doherty had offered to play a free show at another time to compensate fans.

"We might even do it at Pete's house in a big barn. We're definitely going to honour those tickets somehow, but as far as the festival goes our hands are tied," he continued.

"Babyshambles have played about 25 festivals this year. They've been playing festivals all summer, what's the difference with this one?"

Despite the fact that only 150 tickets had been sold for the 5,000-capacity festival, Mr Green said he was certain more would have gone if the band had played.

"Sales have been increasing quite dramatically and we were expecting quite lot of people to turn up at the gate as well."

He added that Doherty had told him he was "hugely disappointed" about the decision.


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