We are extremely sad and regretful in having to announce the cancellation of our Don't Party! NYE event due to issues with events licensing. We have to be careful what we say at present because we are seeking legal advice, but here is the most detailed explanation we can give at this time…
For large scale events, the Greater Manchester Police (hereinafter referred to as the GMP) expect events promoters and venue managers to submit a risk assessment form that details everything about the event in full. Ordinarily, The GMP then analyse your risk assessment, and after a couple of edits, normally give you the clearance necessary to proceed with the event. When we were in the planning the logistics for the event at The Sheridan Suite, we ran into a few problems as a result of our elaborate plans, and soon decided to switch the event to the K2 (Manchester Met Building) venue on Oxford Road. We informed the GMP of our planned switch, only to be told they had more concerns over our event and were unlikely to give us clearance, despite the fact that we'd been in contact with them for several weeks, and not been told of any major problems with the information we’d submitted.
Let it be said at this point that we respect the GMP’s desire to keep the city safe, and that we accept full responsibility for not being more pro-active in getting our risk assessment cleared further in advance. We appreciate the GMP have limited resources and that these applications can take time to process. This being said, as a trusted company with a good history in events, we would have expected them to have made at least some effort to help us push the event through, especially given the economic crisis and the importance of encouraging the success of independent businesses. We offered to do whatever necessary to obtain the clearance, whether it be increase security, submit further details, remove artists from the bill or anything else. We also know it is possible for the GMP to process these applications as quickly as 24hours as they have done it previously, but they were unwilling to do so.
The police officer that was dealing with our application mentioned numerous ridiculous reasons for not wanting to grant our application. This included
* Drum and Bass music being known to attract a high level of violence
* The fact that many of the ticket holders were likely to be of 'local extraction'
* Certain artists on the bill having been involved with incidents at events previously
* The fact that we had supposedly been thrown out of The Sheridan Suite
Thinking back on the few years I've been in Manchester, I've probably seen at most 2 or 3 fights in the hundred or so DnB events I've attended. Certainly none at Hit n Run, Drum Music, or Whatever the Weather. Take a walk down to The Printworks however, and you'll see a load of coked up meat-heads fighting it out pretty much every time.
Why is it a problem that the majority of ticket holders are of local extraction? Are Mancunians all trouble makers? Do they not have a right to go out in their own City without being considered a risk?
Which artists on the lineup are known troublemakers? After a lot of argument, the GMP told us ‘Rufmouth’ and ‘Amure’ were two of the artists on that list. Anyone who knows either of them will know that this is a highly unfounded and ridiculous assertion.
It was the final point that made us realise just how incompetent and unconcerned with the truth the GMP are. We had not been thrown out of The Sheridan Suite. In fact, we have an excellent working relationship with them, and we'll be working with them more next year. On what basis are the GMP making these assertions?
And so… Where was the GMP getting all of this ‘information’ from? Sadly the answer to that will probably never be known. One officer twice referred to a 'source' that informed them of various things. Who is this all knowing, entirely trustworthy benevolent source of information that the police trust so highly? I think the GMP should be made to explain this to us, as it's clearly had an influence on the decisions made by the GMP (which they will now deny of course).
Anyhow, that's about all we can say on the matter for now. There is a lot more than needs saying, and we are in possession of numerous recordings and conversation logs that demonstrate every word of what we've said, and plenty more. Our plan is to release all of that information for public consumption, and now we're just waiting on some legal advice concerning the data protection act, as we're not overly keen on doing any jail time having just lost so much money!
We'd like to offer a massive apology for the 500+ ticket holders, promoters, various suppliers, artists, and everyone else who had time, money, and a piece of their heart invested in the event. We tried hard to do something unique here, but it would seem that the governing powers are more comfortable with a monopoly situation, and that anyone trying to upset the natural order is going to struggle to get ahead.
We (Don’t Panic) need to look inwards here at what we did wrong, and what we can do to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Whilst we feel the GMP could have been a lot more reasonable here, we can’t blame them, as everyone knows that policing in this country is f***ed and that a fairly large percentage of officers are more interested in being awkward than serving their community properly . We should have known to expect the ball-ache, and acted proactively long in advance.
Everyone who purchased a ticket will get a FULL refund, and all suppliers and artists will be compensated adequately. We will be issuing another statement on Monday (when offices open again) providing details of refund procedures, and more information concerning the situation.
If you know anyone planning to attend the event, please let them know what has happened, and direct them to our Facebook Group so that everyone can stay in the loop on developments.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=3 ... 417&ref=ts
Manchester has many great artists and promoters, but its events scene is becoming increasingly monopolised and is consequently having a damaging effect on the creative output of the city. It’s time that these issues were addressed and that everyone involved in the scene (including ourselves) had on open and frank discussion on what can be done to restore the independent spirit that made this city so great.
Manchester, we love you, and thank you for your patience and understanding. Watch this space, as there's much more to come from the Don't Party! collective.
If anyone has any input here, please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org