Lodestar Festival: A Lode of persuasion

PUBLISHED: 16:12 21 December 2006 | UPDATED: 13:42 04 May 2010

THE organiser of a big-name, 30,000 capacity rock festival in East Cambs has hit back at his critics and promised the event will benefit people in the district. As reported in last week s Ely Standard, Doug Durrant has secured council agreement to stage

THE organiser of a big-name, 30,000 capacity rock festival in East Cambs has hit back at his critics and promised the event will benefit people in the district.

As reported in last week's Ely Standard, Doug Durrant has secured council agreement to stage the festival on 120 acres of his land in the village of Lode.

But the district council's decision has already caused bitter rifts in the community, with some residents threatening to sell up and move on.

One man, who asked not to be named, said: "It's an absolute shambles - the increased traffic will be too much for the village to deal with and property prices will fall.

"This is purely a money-making exercise at our expense," he said, adding that he plans to sell his house in the new year.

Mr Durrant, 51, spoke to the Ely Standard about the festival, named LodeStar, and said he wished to set the record straight about the criticism the event has received.

"I believe this festival will be worth around £10m to the local economy," he said.

"I have been working with an experienced team since 2005 and a great deal of work has already been done to make sure this event runs smoothly for visitors and residents alike."

Mr Durrant is organising for residents to be fast-tracked through traffic and is erecting large screens to minimise the noise produced by the festival.

"I'm also organising significant police presence on the day - it's going to be the safest the village has ever been," he said.

Mr Durrant had the idea of

organising a festival on his land after seeing footage of other events on television when he was a younger man.

"It's always been a dream of mine," he said.

The idea became more concrete after he organised a party at the site, including a sprung dancefloor and a beach volleyball court, complete with imported sand.

He immediately began work on a proposal to stage a music festival at the site, and he says he expected criticism from the community from the beginning.

"With anything like this you will get an adverse, knee-jerk reaction, and it's understandable, but I believe this festival will be of great benefit to the community," he said.

"I will be holding regular meetings with the council and emergency services, and members of the Lode community will come along as well.

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