Dance festival left “trail of mayhem” in Wetherby streets

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Residents have voiced their anger after a music festival resulted in “mayhem” on Wetherby’s streets.

Complaints of litter, traffic chaos, loud music which could be heard for miles around, and people urinating in gardens were logged on social media about Saturday’s Mint Festival at Stockeld Park.

One resident who lives near the venue and wished to remain anonymous told the Wetherby News: “Wentworth Gate was used as a taxi rank, and public toilet on Saturday night.

“Taxis repeatedly cut though and sped through the estate to avoid the queues on Spofforth Hill, many driving way too fast.

“Minibuses repeatedly blocked the end of the road, dropping hoards of teenagers off.

“Cars were abandoned all down the road, with people peeing up lampposts in broad daylight, and in people’s gardens.”

A letter addressed to residents from the dance music festival organisers said that they had worked extensively with Harrogate Borough Council so that noise impact on the local community was minimised as far as possible.

And they stated that they were required to ensure that noise at the event was controlled to limits agreed by the local authority. A phone number was given for people to log complaints about noise.

But the resident added: “The so-called letter to residents from the organisers was not issued to residents, but instead was only publicised through social media.

“Many of the residents on our street are elderly, and very few would ever use social media.

“As a result of this, very few people will have had the complaints phone number - although having rung it last night, it was a dead line.

“When the festival emptied, we had literally hoards of kids coming down the street, sitting on people’s wall and in their gardens whilst waiting for lifts, and again using them as toilets. It was appalling.”

In their letter to residents, Mint Festival organisers added that they expected an increase in traffic but they had been working with the council and police.

“There may be a slight increase in weekend vehicular traffic around the area which our stewards and security will manage through the event,” they stated in the letter.

But a Spofforth Hill area resident told the Wetherby News: “The aftermath resulted in mayhem, tantamount to social disorder, on the streets of Wetherby.

“Wentworth Gate was used a pick up point for festival goers until 1.30am. There were double decker buses using it as a pick up point.

“People were rowdy, destroyed plants in stone walls, threw beer cans into gardens, and urinated in gardens.”

The sell-out electronic music festival, which featured DJs such as Craig David and Jamie Jones, was held at Stockeld Park for the first time in its six-year history.

It returned to the Wetherby area after last being held at Wetherby Racecourse in 2015.

Mint Festival promoter, Baz Arjonmand, today answered residents’ complaints put to them by the News and said: “We had a letter sent out to the parish councils and a letter drop around the area and had enquiries from it.

“The phone was manned, we spoke to several people. Obviously some calls didn’t go through due to signal with the amount of people in the area.”

“An independent noise management team were always on site as agreed.”

Organisers added that they will be working to clean up the area.

“A cleaning team has been into Spoffoth and Wetherby, on the day, and will be in the villages throughout this week working to a waste management plan as agreed with the council.

“We’ll always be aiming to keep local people happy and improve anything moving forward.