Organisers defend Respect festival

While thousands of visitors enjoyed last weekend's Respect festival at Ipswich waterfront, those who ran it have been forced to rebut claims of “organisational difficulties”.

IPSWICH: While thousands of visitors enjoyed last weekend's Respect festival at Ipswich waterfront, those who ran it have been forced to rebut claims of “organisational difficulties”.

The sixth Respect Festival took place on Saturday and drew in crowds of more than 2,000 people.

It began with a parade which finished at University Campus Suffolk's Waterfront building where there was live music, community stalls and workshops for young and old.

However Andy Members, of Whitton Church Lane, claimed that the bar and bouncy castles had been removed shortly after the festival started.

He said: “I arrived at the event shortly after its advertised start to see the bar area being dismantled. Apparently, the organisers had failed to apply for a licence to sell liquor.

“Then I learned that none of the live acts would be performing because of health and safety problems with the stage. The bouncy castles that were pumped up when I arrived were deflated and being put away 20 minutes later.”

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Mr Members added: “The impression that I, and others formed, was that the event was beset with organisational difficulties.”

But Shelly Littlejohn, Respect Festival organiser, hit back at the claims which she said did not reflect the positive nature of the day.

She said: “There were over 2,000 people there and we have had lots and lots of positive comments, it was a very successful and positive day.

“We did have an issue so the performers performed inside instead of on the stage.

“There was a situation with the steps that led up to the stage which we weren't informed about beforehand.

“Someone complained about the noise of the generator for the bouncy castle, I assume it was a local residents and we had so many other things at the festival we thought it wouldn't matter (not to have it).”

She added that there was confusion about the licence for the bar which they had believed would be covered by the university's licence but this was not the case so soft drinks only were sold.