ORGANISERS of a proposed music festival near South Wonston were grilled by residents at a public meeting last night.

Suni Phoenix, Kalvin Morris and Chris, who did not wish to disclose his surname, are seeking licensing permission from Winchester City Council to host the two-day Hidden Wonderland event at Worthy Grove.

Inquisitive locals had dozens of questions as they gathered at the Village Hall – all of which were met with an answer.

Mr Phoenix opened the meeting by explaining how it was originally planned to have the festival in Alton, but the trio now need another site due to cancellation.

He said: “We started selling tickets for the Alton event. We know we don’t have the licence yet, and this is one of the worst positions for us. But if we don’t sell now, we will never achieve a festival.”

When asked how big the festival will be, Mr Phoenix added: “We have only sold 147 tickets so far. There are some rumours saying that we’ve sold thousands but it’s not true.

“This is a start-up of festival – we estimate there will be no more than 2,000 people. The licensing band we are applying for is between 500 and 4,999 because that’s the smallest band available.”

One resident asked if the festival would ever grow to the size of Boomtown.

“We don’t want it to grow that size,” answered Mr Phoenix. “There’s already Boomtown in this area, this festival is for those wanting a more intimate experience on a smaller scale. An event on Worthy Grove could never host more than 7,000 people even if people wanted to.”

The organisers said residents “will not even know” they have been in the area and that they look to incorporate locals to help with the clean-up.

All packaging supplied at the event will be biodegradable, and Mr Phoenix has even ordered special bamboo containers from India.

Hampshire Highways and the police are both working with the team, and 24-hour security will be in place on all entrances and exits to the festival site.

Mr Phoenix, who travelled back to his hometown Wigan after the meeting, was also questioned how the festival was being funded despite him being declared bankrupt in November last year.

The room heard that Mr Morris, of Portsmouth, who has industry experience including organising clubbing holidays and nightlife events, will be mostly responsible for this.

It was made it clear that all tickets would be refunded if the licence was refused, and if an acoustic consultant says there will be too much noise impacting nearby homes and wildlife, the festival will be called off.

Following consultation with locals, the organisers have shortened one of the days from a 2pm finish to a 12am end.

They also reassured locals about vehicles clogging roads. Free parking is offered to ticketholders and a shuttle service will run.

Mr Phoenix ended the meeting by thanking everyone for coming.

One resident said: “Not everyone in South Wonston is against this festival.”

But another said: “I’m not very happy at all, I think it stinks.”