Above: traffic jams at the Big Green Gathering 2007. It was chaos.
ONE thing is for sure, we have not got the full story on the reasons why the Big Green Gathering has been cancelled, especially from the greens.
At the moment they are pushing the "festival banned" conspiracy theory; namely that this is all an evil plot by the government to screw up the Climate Camp activists and Plane Stupid.
Avon & Somerset police and Mendip District Council have a very different story of course.
Medip District Council issued a statement today:
The failure of the organisers to address a number of serious public safety issues meant that they had no other option but to cancel it themselves. The fact is that organisers chose to surrender the licence before an application was made to the High Court. The final decision to prepare legal papers for a High Court hearing was made on Friday evening (July 24), but a court application was not expected to be made until yesterday (Monday, July 27). In addition to the several months of help and advice they had been given by both us and emergency services, the weekend provided even more opportunity for the organisers to fulfil their licence obligations. However, they handed their licence back to us on Sunday morning (July 26). Many hours of council time have been committed to help make this event happen, but the lack of assurances from the organisers about the safety of their event were continually causing concern for the council and emergency services. There has been an apparent lack of coordination in managing and meeting the obligations of the licence, and now the cancellation of this event creates many more issues and a heavier workload for the council and emergency services than if it had gone ahead safely. Mendip is a council which is recognised nationally with its partners for licensing large events. The bottom line is we know about licensing festivals, and therefore would not have taken a decision to consider legal action lightly. Preparing for legal action is a last resort."We won’t ever let something like this happen to us again." said an early statement on the Big Green Gathering website which has since been deleted. Seems like they were admitting the cancellation was ultimately their own fault, at least for a bit.
Like most paranoid conspiracy theories the "festival banned" story is utter tosh. Why would the government need to go to such lengths against the Climate Change Camp and their hysterical hangers on? This very small group of people have totally succeeded in marginalising themselves and losing public support by their sanctimonious and plain stupid antics. They are not a threat to the government, although in their self important dream world they would love to be.
The plain truth is probably something like this. While there are some good people involved, the Big Green Gathering management is sadly infested with the worst type of 'radical' green types; people who have very little connection to reality, and are utterly incompetent when it comes to anything to do with organisation and keeping financial affairs in order.
These are the people who have held back the green movement and the Green Party for years, keeping it marginalised and putting off mass support where ever they go. Thankfully the Green Party seems to have finally brought these 'idiots within' under control, but the Big Green Gathering obviously has not.
Dozens of other festivals have managed to deal with difficult and expensive security and health and safety issues, but not these "activists". Their incompetence is the main reason the festival has been stopped.
I have had dealings with some of these green liars in the past. That is why I suspect the other reason the Green Gathering was stopped is that they are rude, irresponsible and have a major problem with dealing with authority.
They say they are 'anti-capitalist', but in their midst are the meanest and most exploitative, dishonest bunch of hypocrites and fools I have ever come across.
Hopefully the Big Green Gathering will survive. For a start they need to throw out both the dodgy 'radical green activists', and the dodgy right wing American billionaire. With people like that involved it is no wonder the event had to be cancelled; it was obviously dangerous.
• Seems like a lot of Big Green Gathering refugees might be going to the Isle of White to support the Vegas Wind turbine factory occupation which is trying to save 600 eco jobs. That sounds like a Green Gathering worth supporting. Full 'Vfestival' details here.
• There is a new conspiracy story being spread that Facebook has shut down the Big Green Gathering group. I do not trust Facebook an inch, but this is another lie.
• Posted on the UKhippy Forum:
Yes, over the years there has been opposition from Mendip, oiled by their Pilton millions. And there has been opposition from certain high ranking police officers, no doubt fuelled by orders from on high who are anti environmentalist events. But this is not new, it has been in place a number of years. The BGG went into the planning for 2009 with a deficit of six figures, accumulated over the years by an unwillingness amongst certain directors to face financial reality. They arranged a buy out with Stuart Galbraith and Kilimanjaro to the tune of 150K, but at the end of the day he only came up with 50. He then saw what a bunch of idealistic amateurs he was dealing with (from his perspective), stayed in until he could get his 50K back, and then did a runner, thus leaving the BGG in the cack. The police and Mendip looked at the sorry state of affairs and used the excuse of permits not being applied for within the proper time frame to close it down. Ths whole debacle is the primarily the result of a few directors being out of touch with the real world and still pretending that they were at Greenham or on Cruisewatch. If the BGG had gone into this year on a more organised financial footing, be sure that Mendip and the police would not have taken this step. How do I know this? Well, I was a director until this time last year, and I maintain regular contact with a number of company insiders. It was clear to me at the end of July last year that the writing was on the wall, but only myself and one other director (incidentally, the only two directors who were self employed and running successful businesses with good financial management, but ignored by the 'elder states people' on the board) stood up and said this. I was pooh poohed and ignored, so I walked. So yes, it was the police and Mendip, with the help of Stewarts security, but only because the whole thing was turning into a shambolic farce - IMHO.