Organisers have to be practical

Hastings Observer letters
Hastings Observer letters

From: Jackie Pratt, Chairman and event manager, “Nearly on the” Beach Concert, Harold Road, Hastings

I was so sad to read Penny Beale’s comments in last week’s paper, if only she had come and asked one of us on the night we could have explained why the fences are regrettably necessary.

Firstly, to set up the site for any event, especially one that is on for two days, takes an enormous amount of work over one day from a large team of people, it would just not be possible or affordable to break down each night and set up each day. So therefore, to protect the infrastructure (much of which is borrowed or hired), we have to be able to secure the site overnight to not only protect the equipment but inevitably the public from falling off stages, etc. It would also be impossible to build the fence each night and take it down again each morning. At most events every attempt is made to decorate the fences and it must be said that the site always looks much better from inside than from out.

Secondly, when running an event someone (the event manger) has to take responsibility for everyone’s safety and wellbeing and that includes the unpredictability of the Great British public and if the event is selling alcohol, all sorts of other responsibilities come into play. The fence allows us to run a large area for everyone’s enjoyment in a safe environment.

Think of it as a very large pub. In these very unpredictable days, even more so. Security and stewards at the gates allow control over who enters the site (just like a doorman), nobody who is drunk, etc. They control numbers to prevent any overcrowding and would know if, for example, small children try to wander off on their own, and sadly do bag searches if required to do so on police advice.

The issue of free or paid entry is irrelevant to this situation. We, as organisers, cannot take responsibility for an area that we have no control over, especially at night if all was left unsecured. The security costs of this alone would be prohibitive.

We have a great facility in The Stade Open Space but we (as organisers) and our visitors/audiences all have to be realistic about the practicalities of staging events here, particularly if they are on for more than just one day.