FURIOUS Fontwell residents voiced their anger at being ‘kept in the dark’ about this weekend’s Mutiny Festival.
The festival, headlined by US rapper Snoop Dogg, has concerned residents who say they were not informed about the festival beforehand.
Around 80 people attended an extremely heated residents’ meeting on Friday at Fontwell Park Racecourse – the venue for the three-day event which begins this Thursday – to complain about a number of issues including noise levels, parking and the potential for anti-social behaviour.
Neil Robins from Mutiny and Simon Williams, executive director of the racecourse, attended and were forced to answer a barrage of questions from angry people.
Although Mr Robins insisted the organisers had done everything legally required of them, he admitted an error had seen a number of neighbouring residents not receive the information leaflets they should have.
“You have a lot of upset people who live in the village, what are you going to do about it?” said Walberton Parish Councillor Sue Wallsgrove with the first of many questions at the two-hour meeting.
Residents said they were unaware that around 15,000 people were expected to attend the event, and that alcohol could be served until 1.30am, until one member of the public distributed her own leaflets.
People complained that elderly people based at nearby care homes, as well as horses at nearby stables, would be affected.
One woman said: “Westergate Care Home has a lot of people with dementia and is right next to the camping field.
“The racecourse is next to three care homes so there are a lot of vulnerable people in this community.”
She added: “Every single person here tonight has been sitting at home worrying about how this will affect them.
“You haven’t done what you should have done, you didn’t inform people what was happening and there’s just a week to go before it starts.”
Along with the noise, many were worried that revellers would refuse to pay the £10 fee for parking and instead leave their vehicles on neighbouring streets.
Others questioned the level of security, with one asking: “What are you going to do to protect our properties from drunk people pouring out and getting into our gardens at 2am?”
Many were also angry that Denmans Lane would be closed off during parts of the weekend.
Mr Robins replied to concerns by saying a specialist company had been hired to monitor sound levels, while a member of Arun District Council would also doing the same.
He said that there would be 150 stewards and security staff present, meaning there was ‘a significant team behind this’.
He said leaflets had been delivered to those living closest to the racecourse, that local parish councils had been emailed and that around 30 people attended an open meeting about the festival.
Mr Williams from Fontwell Park Racecourse apologised for some not receiving leaflets. He said: “We want to be good neighbours to people living in Fontwell so the last thing we want to do is upset anyone.
“We are as disappointed as you are that everyone sent emails wasn’t leafletted.
He added: “We have never held an event like this before and we are talking about something which hasn’t happened yet so there is no reason to think it will be a disaster.”
Among the line up for Mutiny Festival is American hip hop artist Snoop Dogg.
Arund District Council has set up a 24-hour telephone number for the weekend which people can call if they have concerns.
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