Otley bid for rock festival for 5,000

First published in News Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A Bank Holiday music festival that could feature chart-topping rock acts and attract 5,000 people is being planned for Otley.

But concerns have been raised about the disruption the concert, at Otley Rugby Club, might cause – and about a lack of consultation with local residents.

The club is applying for a licence that would allow it to hold music, dance and other events on its pitch for crowds of up to 9,999, though it is aiming for half that number for the noon to 9.30pm festival on Sunday, May 26.

It believes LS21LIVE, which would be run in association with Black Sheep Brewery, will benefit both the club and the town finances – and insists a painstaking list of conditions will be adhered to to minimise problems. Club committee member Gordon Baines said: “Here’s an opportunity, if this is a success, to really put Otley on the concert map and it could do wonders for the town – and yes, make a bit of brass for the club.

“This is an afternoon and early evening event that finishes at 9.30pm and the ground has to be cleared by 10pm.

“All it will mean is seven or eight hours’ disruption, and only for some people, once a year. Once the licence is sorted we’ll hold an informal meeting at Cross Green with the councillors and any objectors, to reassure them about their concerns.”

Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon), however, believes that meeting should have already taken place.

He said: “I’m concerned about the impact on local residents and disappointed the club haven’t yet contacted councillors or residents about this application.

“However, if we’re only talking about the odd one or two events per year, and as long as everything’s done properly, I think we have to give them a chance.

“This could be a positive thing for Otley but I’m worried that it’s in a residential area.”

Resident Andrew Mitchell fears gaining the licence could pave the way for the club welcoming thousands of party-goers “every weekend of the summer”.

Mr Baines, though, insists the idea is simply to stage one or two big events each year.

He said the debut concert would have professional security complemented by 50 stewards from the club and nearby parking spaces for more than 1,100 cars.

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