Reading Festival boss submits plans for 3-day music event at Luton's Stockwood Park

A music fan crowd surfs on a camping chair at Reading Festival (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)A music fan crowd surfs on a camping chair at Reading Festival (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
A music fan crowd surfs on a camping chair at Reading Festival (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Reading and Leeds music festivals promoter planning to stage May bank holiday weeked music event

The driving force behind some of the biggest live events in the country plans to bring a three-day music festival to Luton in May.

Renowned promoter and businessman Melvin Benn is applying to stage the attraction in Stockwood Park.

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As managing director of Festival Republic Limited, Mr Benn has applied to the borough council for the grant of a premises licence for the event over the Whitsun bank holiday weekend.

The local authority’s licensing panel is due to consider his application at a meeting in the Town Hall on Monday (January 22).

If granted, the licence will allow entertainment including live music, recorded music, dance performances and films, as well as enabling alcohol to be sold for consumption on the premises.

Permission is sought from noon to 11.30pm on Friday, May 24 and from 9.30am to 10.30pm on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 for the entertainment.

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The sale or supply of alcohol would be from noon to 11pm on Friday, May 24 and from 9.30am to 10.30pm on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26.

Mr Benn’s application form to the licensing authority also refers to “a funfair and sponsor activations” for the event, as well as system sound checks ahead of each day’s entertainment and for rehearsals on Thursday, May 23.

The expectation is that the fair rides and sponsor activations will play a controlled level of amplified music, the form added.

Mr Benn and his organisation promote and run the annual music festivals at Reading and Leeds, among various live attractions staged across the country.

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A resident submitted a representation to the licensing service last month warning about noise disruption, anti-social behaviour and the main entry points to the park via London Road and Farley Hill may be congested

He said the sound from the PA system will be frequently audible in the gardens of Whitehill Avenue and called for noise levels to be monitored.

“As this is the first large scale event to be held at Stockwood Park, there could be people turning up with the intention of listening to the music, but outside of the event area.

“It’s not clear how this situation would be managed. The location and local infrastructure outside isn’t suited to an event of this size and duration.

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The applicant addressed these concerns and agreed for noise level monitoring using sound meters throughout, with staff walking around the venue regularly.

A noise hotline would be available during the festival, manned at all times, while Mr Benn would consult the local community ahead of the event.

Three borough councillors sit on the licensing panel at any one hearing. They listen to all the available evidence behind the licensing request before considering their decision in private.

On returning to announce whether or not to grant the licence, applicants are informed of their right to appeal to Luton Magistrates Court, if unhappy with the outcome.