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Matthew Street Festival is OFF!!!
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:48 am    Post subject: Matthew Street Festival is OFF!!! Reply with quote

Liverpool City Council really have excelled themselves this time...

LIVERPOOL’S 2007 Mathew Street Festival is off.

Culture chiefs today cancelled Europe’s biggest free music festival on health and safety grounds.

They said the decision followed advice from Capita Symonds, described as Britain’s leading experts in health and safety at outdoor events.

Capita was brought in by the Culture Company on July 27 to carry out a last-minute review of festival plans.

It reported the loss of the Pier Head because of building work, and regeneration work taking place in the city centre, would reduce Liverpool’s capacity to host the event.

And it said that reduction, combined with huge crowds and alcohol being on sale, meant a “significant safety risk” to the public.

City council chief executive Colin Hilton said: “We’ve done everything we can to make sure the festival goes ahead and explored every possible alternative, but there comes a point where you can do no more, and this is it.

“Everyone is hugely disappointed.”

The decision was today branded a disaster for Liverpool’s national and international image.

Cllr Paul Brant, acting leader of the city’s Labour group, said: “It’s a disaster for the credibility of the city, and also a disaster for the many thousands of holidaymakers who have made travel arrangements to visit the city.

“This year is meant to be a springboard for 2008. But this is going to make us a national and international laughing stock.”

But council chiefs today maintained they had worked up to the 11th hour to try and ensure the festival happened.

And they said the advice related specifically to the Mathew Street Festival this year, and would not affect other birthday events.

Culture Company chief executive Jason Harborow said: “In many ways, Mathew Street has become a victim of its own success this year.

“The huge growth in the popularity of the festival, combined with the loss of the Pier Head, presented us with a massive problem.

“Unfortunately, that problem has proved to be insurmountable.

“We worked hard to try and find a way to stage the event in the city centre, but even after months of planning we were still not satisfied.

“As a last resort we employed national safety experts Capita Symonds to see if they could see a way through these intractable problems. Sadly, they’ve concluded there’s still too great a risk.”

Merseyside Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, Helen King, said: “Having had sight of the advice from the independent consultants, we fully understand why they’ve made the decision to cancel Mathew Street this year.

“Public safety has to be the paramount consideration.”

Farewell Fab party went global

THE Mathew Street Festival started as something of an accident back in 1993.

Bill Heckle and Dave Jones, of Cavern City Tours, started running the annual Beatles Convention in 1986.

But although successful, it was not making money. So the company decided to wind it up with a giant August Bank Holiday party in Mathew Street itself.

Permission was granted for a stage outside the Cavern and organisers expected a few thousand people to turn up.

But on the day the numbers topped 20,000 and the Mathew Street Festival was born.

It grew over the years, becoming Europe’s biggest free music festival with Beatles tribute bands and other acts playing on stages set up in the city streets.

In 1999 an estimated 350,000 Beatles fans packed the city centre for the weekend festival.

In 2002 the festival was dedicated to George Harrison, “the quiet Beatle”, who died the previous November of cancer.

In 2005 famous acts like the Stranglers, Buzzcocks and McFly, and a stage for unsigned Liverpool bands, were added to the programme.

Last year the event ran over four days and attracted around 350,000 people, generating millions for the Liverpool economy.

A total of 76 bands played in 2006.

Arts Editor Joe Riley says . . .

IT’S the most spectacular own goal imaginable.

The city’s international trademark music festival cancelled at the last moment.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists with their plans ruined.

The Liverpool economy short-changed by millions.

Worst of all, Liverpool’s pride tarnished in a wholly unprecedented way in our 800th birthday year.

It’s no good the city council and its culture company puppy arguing over who takes the rap. They are jointly responsible for having less vision than a cave full of bats.

It’s a wholly red-letter year for fans - 50 years since John met Paul, 50 years since the Cavern club was launched, 40 years since Brian Epstein died, 40 years since Sgt Pepper was released.

But now trashed by incompetence.

If it weren't such an all-round tragedy it would win prizes as a farce.

Officially, the worst council for years. Decimating our maritime heritage, now our musical heritage. Mad Mad Mad
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Health and Safety" + the rampant compensation culture is ruining so much nowadays.

Taken to their logical conclusion, statements such as “Public safety has to be the paramount consideration” suggests that holding no events at all is the safest option.

Rolling Eyes
Rick (OCC Admin)
Various 1920s-1960s - Austin, Morris, Commer, Dodge etc.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1984 some 23 years late.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is what happens when you bring in outside organizations.
C*APITA are, nowadays, responsible for many of the previously in house functions of our councils and they keep getting it wrong.

They were brought in to re-organise the Driving Standards Agency's computer and communications systems, and the system failed to meet its targets so guess who did the re-re-organisation.
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Brian M

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When will our Government and Councils realise that C*apita cannot be relied on?

I work in the Education Sector where C*apita ran the Individual Learning Account scheme a few years ago, whereby everyone could get £200 towards training. They totally failed to check the Training Providers who could get the money and it was estimated that £30m was paid out to fraudsters!

There are also responsible for the Criminal Record Bureau and their incompetence meant we couldn't recruit new Lecturers for several months unless we took a chance to take them on without a check.

Plus the Driving Standards Agency fiasco mentioned by Penman.

I wouldn't want to suggest that the donation of £1m to the Labour Party by their Chairman might have something to do with it.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely farcical. Heads MUST roll over this sham... Mad

Exclusive: Content of report revealed

Aug 3 2007

by Larry Neild, Liverpool Daily Post

Mathew Street

THE world experts who recommended the cancellation of the Mathew Street Festival visited the city just once – last Friday – to discuss safety issues about the showcase event.

Their report, exclusively obtained by the Daily Post after the Culture Company refused to release it, highlights major concerns with personnel issues at the Culture Company.

It sensationally reveals that it appeared that no identifiable health and safety officer had been appointed to an event which attracts more than 100,000 people less than a month before it was scheduled to begin.

Richard Lamb, director of Leisure Safety at consultants Capita Symonds, headed a team that met officials after being commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company to undertake a review of the plans for the festival.

At the meeting Mr Lamb met Lee Forde, the Liverpool Culture Company’s events manager who resigned from his job earlier this year, but agreed to stay on until after the event. Also present were Merseyside police officers PC Keith Rice and Sgt Paul Marley.

After discussing the event they toured the proposed sites where the events would take place, including The Strand, Dale Street, Derby Square, Chapel Street, Tithebarn Street and Williamson Square. They also went to see a proposed floating stage close to the Albert Dock.

In his summary Mr Lamb spoke of the concerns over the loss of expertise, and a perceived instability within the festival team. He said some of the staff engaged at the last minute to run the event may have had “insufficient time and compe-tence to undertake the work”.

Then comes the stunner from Mr Lamb’s report: it would take six months for the remedial action needed before the festival could be held. Nothing could be done in the few weeks before the proposed event.

Then comes the recommendation that the event should be postponed.

The report speaks of key resignations from the Culture company, saying there did not appear to be “any confirmation about who would be the nominated safety coordinator for the festival”.

A number of concerns were highlighted in the report about the reduced capacity due to the loss of the Pier Head and the lack of specific details in the risk assessment relating to the seven sites.

The report’s main conclusion stated: “In order to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all involved is taken care of and to protect those responsible for delivering this, it is recommended that the event is postponed.”

Capital Symonds’s brief from the Liverpool Culture Company was to conduct a review of the plans for the festival with a view to commenting on the viability of the event in relation to the health and safety risks.

The report says two previous health and safety officers have recently resigned from their posts. Existing documents mention two proposed Health and Safety Officers, namely Eddy Grant of the Liverpool Culture Company and Tim Roberts of The Safety Shop.

It says: “There does not appear to be any confirmation as to who is the nominated Event Safety Coordinator for the event.

“Tim Roberts has had no involvement with the event to date, therefore, we would assume that he has insufficient understanding of the complex nature of this proposed seven-stage event. He has not, we understand, had an input to the risk assessments.

“His letter of appointment is unspecific and vague, with no conditions of professional service, etc. No evidence or proof of his competence in this type of event was seen and his CV does not support such experience.

“The previous Event Manager has resigned taking a considerable amount of knowledge and experience of this event away.

“Eddy Grant who has previous experience of this event is currently on sick leave.”

The report said a number of event sites were found to be unsuitable, mainly as a result of the ongoing regeneration in the city, such as raised curbs on The Strand and considerable construction works, barriers, etc.

THE full report can be read on the Daily Post website,

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