Playgroup Festival has been put back due to the fact that it’s still bloody winter in England right now and hasn’t stopped raining. The owners of the land – a Site Of Special Scientific Interest – are concerned that their beautiful setting just isn’t up to being driven all over to set up a festival without being destroyed. We have to say that in a way we’re pleased – the chance of good weather in September (21st-23rd) is more likely than it is in a few weeks time. It sounds like it’s been a tough decision though. Roll on the Indian Summer. Here’s the announcement.
“This is, as you might imagine, a difficult bulletin to write. We’re sitting in the Playgroup office above The Blind Tiger Club in Brighton, listening to the typing tap of disappointing news and the solid beat of the rain that’s caused it.
“Despite the best possible efforts, of a lot of good people, we are being forced to postpone the third Playgroup Festival, by seven weeks, because of the effects of the last four months of heavy rain on our festival site. We really have been given no choice. The new festival dates are 21st, 22nd and 23rd September 2012, at the same estate of Eridge Park. All tickets sold are valid for the new dates – we hope you can still join us for the greatest little festival around, just a little bit later than any of us expected.
“In the middle of a really terrible season for a lot of outdoor events, we know how important it is to explain everything, and to treat you as an intelligent crowd, worthy of honest, open and detailed communication. We think you might want or need to know the whole story behind-the-scenes.
“What many of you may not know is that our festival site is set within a massive country park of national ecological significance. We camp and dance on the edge of a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest. It’s one of the most precious natural sites in the whole country – and nothing can happen there without the support of Nature England and the landowners who are charged with protecting it.
“On Friday, they removed this support, on the sole grounds that they have never seen Eridge Park as wet as it currently is, and there is no way to bring people and vehicles onto the parkland there without destroying the valuable soil below. And we would need to start bringing traffic onto the site next week, not just when the event was due to open.
“The rains have been too heavy, and our festival site is now too wet and fragile. We cannot host Playgroup Festival and churn up a protected ecological site at the same time. To knowingly and seriously damage it would be against our philosophy, against the wider human and animal interest, and against the law.”