Swansea authority hears plans for beach music festival from organiser

THE organiser of a music festival planned on Swansea beach told councillors it would be a family-oriented event with artists who wouldn’t attract trouble.

Tom Job wants to put on a three-day event called Tunes in the Bay for up to 9,999 people each day within a fenced area of the beach between The Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen and the Cenotaph.

His premises licence application was discussed at a council licensing sub-committee meeting, which also heard from South Wales Police and the authority’s licensing and pollution control departments.

Addressing the sub-committee, Mr Job, director of Tunes in the Dunes Ltd, said: “We want to create a family event, and something that’s good for Swansea and good for the community.”

He said acts such as Busted, McFly, The Kooks, Scouting for Girls and Ocean Colour Scene had played at similar music festivals he had put on. He said: “It’s sing-along, happy, fun music.”

Mr Job, of Cornwall, said he steered clear of drum and bass-type acts which he claimed “attract trouble”.

Asked by Cllr Cheryl Philpott why he’d chosen Swansea as a potential venue, he replied: “It’s nearby, it shares similarities to Cornwall, and we’re always looking for other sites. I think the beach is in a lovely spot. I just thought we would give it a go.” He added: “Financially for us it could be a great event, and for Swansea as well.”

Mr Job said he had met council leader Rob Stewart a while back to pitch his festival proposal, and that The Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen was positive about it.

The application is for a Friday to Sunday event from noon to midnight, with live music and the sale of alcohol from noon to 11pm, and late-night refreshment from 11pm to 11.30pm.

There would be a main stage and a smaller stage, plus DJ booths, activities for young people, food stalls, bars, and toilets – all within an enclosed 180m by 60m site – although the dimensions could change depending on ticket numbers sold.

Police had objected to the licence application on grounds including the event taking place as proposed on the weekend of May 3, 4, 5 next year because it was a bank holiday – a time of high police demand compounded by Swansea City hosting Millwall in the Championship on May 4.

The force also had concerns about the number of people who would congregate on the beach outside the enclosed area and its proximity to the sea, road safety, and the overall number of summer events on the seafront and in Singleton Park.

Present at the sub-committee meeting was police licensing officer Chris Dix, who said amendments had recently been agreed by the applicant which persuaded him to drop the objection.

These included the Mr Job submitting comprehensive water safety and traffic management plans – including the deployment of beach lifeguards for the duration of the event – agreeing to apply for a one-off festival rather than an annual one, and honouring “all reasonable requests to engage the services” of special – or volunteer – constables to patrol the area. “I am happy to support the application as amended,” said Sgt Dix.

The council’s licensing and water pollution control teams had queries about how festival-goers would disperse at the end of the night, what the impact of people congregating outside would be on key licensing objectives, levels of noise from the event, and beach pollution risks.

Cllr Sandra Joy wanted to know if police would have enough special constables to help patrol the area, even if the applicants were “willing and able” to pay for them, given the bank holiday demand. Sgt Dix said it would be a challenge, but that he had raised it with his line manager. “I’m confident that we would have the resources,” said Sgt Dix.

Cllr Philpott said she was surprised to hear this given the expected demands on the force. Sgt Dix said: “It is a busy weekend, however, most of the weekends through the summer are.”

He added that the organisers had offered to move the event dates, but that the tides of Swansea Bay were a limiting factor given the location.

Pollution control officer Tom Price said noise limits for the event would be at the same decibel level as those held in Singleton Park and that there would be “repercussions” if that level was exceeded.

Council officers requested a number of changes to the proposed licence conditions, including that the festival did not take place during a spring tide and that people without tickets who congregated on the beach nearby were catered for.

These changes could potentially mean the festival taking place later in the summer, assuming that the licence was approved. Mr Job said a date change would give him and his colleagues more time “to make sure all the plans are the best that they can be”.

Kevin Instance, Tunes in the Dunes event safety manager, said security staff and marshals would be provided, that litter pickers would clear up rubbish outside the enclosed area, and that no-one wanted to annoy people living close to the beach-front area. “We want to come back and do it again,” he said.

Mr Job said he was happy with the input of the authorities. “I think everyone seems to be on the same page,” he said.

The sub-committee said Mr Job would receive an answer in writing within five working days before going into closed session to make a decision.

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