Disagreement over music at Woodhall Spa 1940s festival

The George Formby experience at Jubilee Park, as part of the Woodhall Spa 1940s Festival last year. Picture: John Aron.
The George Formby experience at Jubilee Park, as part of the Woodhall Spa 1940s Festival last year. Picture: John Aron.

A disgruntled Woodhall Spa resident has slammed plans to hold an outdoor ‘rock’ concert at a venue in the centre of Woodhall Spa - on the same weekend as the 1940s’ Festival.

Graham Keegan contacted the Horncastle News after The Mall confirmed an outdoor concert will take place on the weekend of July 13/14.

Mr Keegan said: “The 1940s’ Festival has been going for six years or so.

“It’s a terrific event which is really good for the economy.

“People come from all over the country to attend.

“It (the festival) has established itself from a standing start to being one of the best events in the country.

“We’ve got The Mall pub which sits in the middle of Woodhall Spa

“I think they’ve got some 40s’ entertainers during the day but in the evening they’ve got a rock band on outdoors in the car park.

“Last year, you couldn’t escape the noise wherever you were in Woodhall Spa - it was that loud.

“So you’ve got a 40s’ themed event which most people and most retailers and restaurants get involved with, and lay on entertainment.

“And then we’ve got the Mall sitting in the middle of Woodhall Spa booming out 1960s’ rock music.

“It is just simply selfish and it spoils the whole weekend.

“They’ve got fifty other weekends in the year they can do that (the concert) but they’ve got to organise it on the 40s’ weekend - why do that?

“If they want to have the rock music inside so nobody else has to listen to it - fine.

“But having the music in the car park where it will just ruin the whole ambience of the weekend is just simply selfish.

“40,000 people come to the festival - people don’t just come along for the day and go home.

“An awful lot of people stay in Woodhall Spa and the surrounding area and go out in the evening.

“They (The Mall) ruin it - I find it selfish and shameful.

“I hear a lot of people complaining about it, and a lot of the festivalgoers last year made comments on social media saying it was really poor what The Mall did.

“This festival is organised by local volunteers who don’t make a penny out of it, but The Mall will be making a lot of money of out this (the festival).

“They are just disrupting the whole theme of the festival.

“Every hotel and restaurant has got something going on over the weekend to make sure that people are busy and will stay in Woodhall Spa.”

The Horncastle News also spoke with Andy Hunter, Chairman of the 1940s’ Festival Committee.

Mr Hunter said: “It (the concert) was noisy and disruptive last year.”

Mr Hunter explained that the festival usually comes to a close between 6pm and 7pm both days.

He added: “To be fair to The Mall their show last year was outside the official window of the festival.

“We do try hard, and it’s a trademark of the festival, to encourage local hotels and everybody to be in theme as much as possible

“99% of the people try very hard to be seen to add to the overall atmosphere of the festival.

“I think The Mall stands out as they don’t seem to comply with the theme as much as everybody else.

“I think the reason the festival is attractive is because it is very genuine - and the whole village lends itself very well to the 1940s’ theme.

“We have a degree of control on the entertainment and we spend a lot of time sourcing the entertainment and managing the quality of the entertainment that goes out to businesses and hotels, so a lot of effort goes into that.

“If you have something that comes along that is completely out of that theme - we lose our quality control in terms of the festival.”

The landlord at The Mall, Trevor Glenn has responded to the complaint.

Mr Glenn said: “I am a veteran who served my country in the Falklands War in 1982 and my passion for the Armed Forces knows no bounds.

“We have embraced the 40s’ weekend each year and have received nothing but criticism from Mr Keegan.

“The Mall raised £3,500 for the Bomber Command Centre and I personally gave Tony Worth and his team all the help that a small business could give.

“The Wrinkly Rockers are a small portion of the entertainment laid on by the Mall.

“During the 1940s’ Festival we have the Blighty Belles, Jive Amour, Lincoln Vocal Academy, Dad’s Army sketches, Battle Pipes,and music and songs of the 40s performed by The Ruffs.

“The last bus for the 40s’ park and ride facility leaves well before the Wrinkly Rockers come on stage.

“They play Roy Orbison, Eagles, Neil Diamond and songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s - they are not heavy metal.

“The gig is well after the roads open to the public and things get back to normal.”