MP demands review and apology after Mutiny Festival disruption

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has demanded a review of the disruption caused by this weekend’s Mutiny Festival in Fontwell, describing the impact on local residents as “totally unacceptable”. 

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The MP is seeking a formal review and apology from Arun District Council and Fontwell Racecourse on behalf of those living in Fontwell village following the disruption of a three day music festival over the weekend (17-20 July).

Mr Herbert accused Arun District Council and Fontwell Racecourse of naivety in believing that a three day event of this type could be held in a quiet residential area without causing significant disruption.  He said that local residents' legitimate fears had been dismissed but had proved to be entirely justified.

The MP wrote to the Chief Executives of both Arun District Council and Fontwell Racecourse before the Festival to convey his concerns about the potential impact on nearby residents and businesses from noise, litter and disruption during the event.

Mr Herbert questioned whether a residential area was an appropriate venue for three days of electronic dance music which would continue into the small hours, and expressed his surprise that the event had been granted a licence.

But the Chief Executive of Arun District Council, Nigel Lynn, replied that "In addition to those that have expressed concern regarding the event, other people have written to us in support of the event, particularly expressing the view that they feel it is good that an event has been planned for young people to enjoy it in a safe environment".

The MP raised his concerns after being contacted by constituents living near the racecourse who were annoyed that an event licence had been granted by Arun District Council without public consultation or consideration for the impact it would have on the village of Fontwell.    

Many residents wrote to their MP again after the event to express their anger over what they had witnessed over the weekend.  They pointed out that other concerts held at the racecourse ended well before midnight, but the exceptionally loud dance music at the Festival had continued until early in the morning.

One resident told Mr Herbert: "My back garden backs on to [the site].  The noise and foul language coming from some of the revellers all day and most of the night over the actual event was unbelievable."

In an e-mail to Arun District Council, Rachel Ross of Fontwell said: “Shame on you for bringing this abomination to our village and for not putting the resident’s wellbeing before money.”  She described litter, people urinating on hedges and open drug taking in the village.

Lucy Harfoot, also of Fontwell, said: “I have tried very hard until now to be balanced and calm but my limit has been reached.  Our weekend has been ruined, our nerves are in shreds.”

Another resident in the village, Richard Attwood, told the MP: “The parking was a joke.  You could hardly get down Arundel Road for parked cars.  There were cars parked everywhere.  The verges were parked two deep where people couldn't find space on the road.  Four people slept on the verge outside my house.  Litter and excrement left behind.”  

Nick Herbert said: “I am now demanding a formal review by Fontwell Park and Arun District Council into how this event was ever agreed and licensed, and why the residents of Fontwell were not better informed and their properties protected.

"It is simply not good enough to say that young people had a great time at the Festival.  The disruption and noise levels in a quiet residential area were bad enough, but the littering and fouling of public and private property was revolting and totally unacceptable.

"Local people are entitled to an apology from both Fontwell Park and the Council, and an assurance that this kind of unsuitable and poorly managed event will not be allowed at this location again".





1.    Photo - aftermath of the Mutiny Festival, Fontwell.