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The show will go on for Bury St Edmunds Nearly Festival



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A highly popular Bury St Edmunds music event is to let the music play on next year, even though it had to turn down its volume at the weekend.

The Nearly Festival, which featured tribute acts covering bands such as ABBA, Take That and The Beatles, had around 2,500 people attend the two-day event, though it received complaints from nearby residents who said the music broke noise regulations.

Danny Banthorpe, the event’s organiser, said: “It was another fantastic weekend. Bury St Edmunds crowds are the best.

“It was a challenging weekend with the new layout, but it was kept safe, secure and functional.”

The two-day event celebrates tribute acts, such as ABBA Pictures by Mecha Morton
The two-day event celebrates tribute acts, such as ABBA Pictures by Mecha Morton

Guidelines state that noise cannot go above 65 decibels for more than a 15 minute average, one metre from the façade of sensitive properties.

Organisers had to move and turn the stage and speakers, use an electronic drum kit with ear monitors as well as finish the show nights on time to display their compliance.

The changes meant a lower capacity. Danny said: “We under-sold in advance by 200 adults (with Saturday sold out) and turned more than 300 people away on the gate to make sure we didn’t overcrowd.”

West Suffolk Council said it worked with all event organisers to ensure the rules were followed.

The Nearly Festival is an incredibly popular event in Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds Picture by Mecha Morton
The Nearly Festival is an incredibly popular event in Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds Picture by Mecha Morton

Cllr Jo Rayner, a ward member for Abbeygate, which covers the Abbey Gardens, and also the Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Community, said: “There have been some issues raised, including noise, by local residents but equally we have had lots of praise for the event. The event was held over the weekend as planned and, as is normal, kept under review. We are looking at the issues raised.”

Concerned festival-goers initially created a Facebook page and then a Change.org petition to show support, with some worried other events held in Abbey Gardens, such as the annual fireworks display, could be affected.

Danny said: “The Nearly Festival will 100 per cent be back in Bury St Edmunds next year – where is still to be confirmed.

“The event has outgrown Abbey Gardens and Nowton Park is the natural progression but we love Abbey Gardens, as do the regulars.

“It’s frustrating residents have caused so many problems and spoilt so many people’s weekends. Hopefully community people power and entertaining so many people prevails.”

To show support for the Nearly Festival, go to the Save the Bury St Edmunds Nearly Festival Change.org page.

For more pictures, see this week's Bury Free Press.