York’s big new music festival starring Lionel Richie has yet to get a licence

The first York Festival is due to take place in June. Photograph: Ron Smith / Unsplash

A huge festival planned for York does not yet have permission to go ahead.

Tickets are already on sale for York Festival – a three day event due to take place at York Sports Club this summer – with acts including Westlife, Lionel Richie and Madness.

But some neighbours and City of York Council’s public protection team have raised concerns about granting a licence for the event.

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Residents are worried about parking, noise and up to 20,000 people arriving at, or leaving, the venue on Shipton Road.

Neighbours also raised concerns about the impact on Lime Trees NHS child and adolescent mental health services next door to the site.

But letters supporting the application were also received – with some residents saying the festival is a “coup” for the city and that they have bought tickets themselves.

Crunch meeting

Global star Lionel Richie is the headliner
The first York Festival is due to take place from Friday, June 19 to Sunday, June 21.

Councillors on the licensing committee will be asked to decide if a licence for the event, allowing for live music and the sale of alcohol from 3pm to 10.30pm, at a meeting on Thursday.

The council’s public protection team say they have received 10 complaints about noise from live music events at the sports club since 2017. They have asked the organisers – Live Nation – to agree to a noise management plan, with the levels not exceeding 65decibels over 15 minutes at the nearest home.


A letter from people living on Galtres Grove opposite the club says noise will be a “serious issue”. It adds:

  • The York Sports Club is a relatively small venue for the volume of traffic expected (we are told it will be in the region of 12,000 to 20,000 visitors per day, equating to around 8,000 to 15,000 vehicles).

    Parking on site has been completely inadequate for these small events and therefore it seems quite impossible that it would be able to cope with this kind of major new event.

Another resident said: “The nearest house to the site is Lime Trees, the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Clinic. What is the plan to protect this service during the period of this work?”

Both parish councils and the ward councillors have raised concerns on behalf of residents – but do not object to the licence being granted.

No fireworks please

Westlife
One letter from a neighbour in support of the plans says:

  • This event would be a great draw for the local area, it’s fantastic to get such good music acts so close to home.

    I understand the feelings of some of the other residents regarding noise. But feel with the music being over by 10.30pm, crowds will have dispersed by just after 11pm, so cannot agree that it would have a negative impact on our area over the three day period.”

    A plea from my dog for no loud firework grand finale.

Another said the event is “a major coup for the city of York and I am delighted York Sports Club is the venue”.

They added: “This is great PR for York bringing international artists here.”

The direction of the stage has been changed in response to concerns. It was facing the club building but will now face the cricket ground.

Detailed discussions

A spokesman for organisers Cuffe and Taylor, the Live Nation promoters responsible for York Festival, said: “As with any licence application of this nature we are in detailed discussions with the licensing authority in relation to a number of areas.

“The consultation period has been very useful and we are addressing all representations made.

“York Festival is a major new event for this wonderful city. We are bringing music superstars here for what will be three brilliant days of live entertainment, not only for local residents but for the city’s tourist economy.”

The meeting takes place on Thursday at 10am at West Offices.