Festival will be fab whether it’s rain or shine – organiser

Bad weather hit the Wickham Festival last yearPicture: Bob Aylott
Bad weather hit the Wickham Festival last yearPicture: Bob Aylott
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IT won’t be a mudbath – that’s the promise of the man behind the Wickham Festival.

With other events having been rained off or ruined by heavy downpours, organiser of the festival Peter Chegwyn claims lessons have learned from the year the festival was hit by bad weather.

In 2007 heavy rain, right as the festival began, caused chaos in the car parking fields, forcing organisers to close them. People still arriving parked in surrounding roads and businesses,

And tractors had to be borrowed to pull out the vehicles trapped in the mud.

There was also heavy rain last year.

Although the festival’s regular car parking field is still unusable because of the weather, it has been moved to fields next to the Westlands Farm Shop in Pricketts Hill.

Organiser Peter Chegwyn said: ‘We have learned from the bad weather of 2007 and we have planned ahead and put in a lot of extra cover to make it as dry and as comfortable as possible for visitors. It won’t be a mudbath.

‘Hopefully, we won’t now need it because the long-range forecast is for a fine weekend and the sun has returned at just the right time to dry out the ground.’

In addition to the normal Big Top, which shelters 3,000 fans in front of the main stage where stars including Jools Holland, KT Tunstall and The Proclaimers will perform, there will now be another canvas over the second stage.

There will also be a cinema tent and a storytelling tent for children – as well as an indoor bar with heated seating.

Mr Chegwyn added: ‘The field is straw-based rather than grass so we are confident people won’t be walking on a sea of mud. Despite the rain, the site is not too bad.

‘There is less water on it than there was in 2007 when we somehow got the event on despite even worse weather.

‘The rainfall has been horrendous for weeks now and a lot of events have been washouts.

‘But we are doing everything we can to avoid similar problems.

‘All the toilets are serviced from outside the arena, we are putting down roadway to help with the parking, and we have an indoor bar, a big top and other tents so it is all systems go.’

The festival runs from August 2 to 5. For ticket information go to wickhamfestival.co.uk.