A delayed concert that could cost the council £110K will now be free to attend to help residents with the cost of living crisis.

The Abingdon Platinum Jubilee Celebration, which was due to start tonight at Rye Farm Meadow, was cancelled after travellers moved onto the site leaving the council to clean up rubbish left on the field.

Organisers at Abingdon Town council were alerted to caravans having moved onto the festival site at Rye Farm Meadow a week ago.

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Staff were unable to cut the grass and set up the stage and stalls until the travellers left on Saturday, following action by Vale of White Horse District Council, which own the site.

Work was further set back by the amount of rubbish left behind. Staff from Biffa, the council's waste contractor, were busy on Monday cleaning the site to allow the rest of the event to proceed on Thursday.

Abingdon Mayor Andy Foulsham said: “It was a decision we didn’t want to take, but it was all down to the fact that we had travellers encamped on site most of last week and there just wasn’t time to prepare the ground.

“I am delighted that we are still going ahead on the Thursday with our local bands and community groups coming together.”

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Oxford soul-blues-rock band The Dead Beat Apostles had been due to play tonight but previously pulled out blaming poor organisation. Front man Ginger said: “It’s all been a bit cobbled together. The organisation has been very poor, and it was a relief not to be involved.”

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Mr Foulsham said: “There is always some chopping and changing involved with events like this. But I am very confident in the team we have got in the town council; the team have pulled together really well to make this happen.”

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The event has now been made free and will no-longer be ticketed with numbers set to be controlled on the way in. People who have bought the tickets already will get a refund.

Mr Foulsham said: “I am delighted that the event is now free. We decided that in response to the cost of living crisis that a small thing the council could do was to make the event free.”

He explained the town council decided in a meeting last week that the maximum budget set aside to spend on the Jubilee celebrations would be £110,000, but the council plans to spend less.

Bands playing at the festival will still be paid and some funds will be recovered from food vendors that pay a pitch fee.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Rebecca Whittaker, she joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Rebecca covers education and news in Abingdon and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Rebecca.Whittaker@newquest.co.uk or calling 07824524333

Follow her on Twitter @RebecWhitt

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