ORGANISERS of the Alresford Music Festival want to introduce overnight camping to attract more people.

The festival, now in its fourth year, proposes to offer festival-goers the chance to stay on the recently-purchased field next to Arlebury Park.

They believe it would be a good way of solving the problem of a lack of late-night public transport.

Festival chairman Ken Veitch said in a letter to the town council last night (THURS): “The committee believes that one of the factors that have inhibited ticket sales in the past is the lack of public transport between Alresford and Winchester and the extended area, particularly after the event.

“The committee is aware that other festivals find that providing camping space alleviates similar difficulties that they have and proves very popular, boosting ticket sales."

Organisers would also like to have greater use of the facilities at Alresford Recreation Centre such as the bar, showers and toilets.

They aim to attract 5,000 people to the one-day event in July producing a healthy surplus which is shared between local charities.

The need has been heightened as principal sponsor First Option is reducing its support this year.

Town councillors said they needed more detailed information before they could make a decision. There were issues of overnight security and insurance.

Cllr Simon Evans said: "It is at the point of becoming a successful event and moving on, or not. I think we should do our best to support the festival."

Some councillors raised concerns that camping may change the type of people attending the family-orientated event.

Cllr Roy Gentry said the sloping field was due to be turned into two rugby pitches with heavy machinery to do the levelling so it may not even be available.

Cllr Lisa Griffiths said: "I have had complaints about disturbance. My view is that it is only one night and that the festival is a good thing for the town."
The issue will be discussed at the next town council meeting on February 14.