The Moonfest – the bash previously scheduled to take place on August 29-31 in Wiltshire – has been cancelled after police banned Babyshambles from performing at the bash. As previously-reported on NME.COM, Wiltshire police claimed that Pete Doherty's band were too likely to incite violence. They presented their views to North Wiltshire Magistrates who then orgered Moonfest organisers to strike Babyshambles from the bill. As a consequence of the cancellation the festival has been cancelled, reports BBC News. Organiser John Green blamed the police for the cancellation. He said it was "due to the ramifications presented to us by the actions of the police" that the decision had to be made. Superintendent Paul Williams of the Wiltshire Police said he didn't blame the band for his decision, he blamed their fans. "The issue is not the act itself, it is the profile of fans that follow the act," he said. "Wiltshire Police do not have an issue with Pete Doherty or Babyshambles." Babyshambles drummer Adam Ficek said he thought the police's decision was an overreaction, and that his band plan to organise an alternative gig near the festival site. "The whole thing is a farce, it's almost comical," he told NME.COM."The organiser of the festival is now on the verge of bankruptcy," he continued. "Why? Because we intentionally speed up and slow down the tempo of our songs. We're now in the process of trying to make it happen in a different venue. Watch this space."
Adrian comments (on FDW):
"Today's Statement. It's believed it was the first time police anywhere in the country had used Section 160 of the Licensing Act (2003) to get a performance stopped. "We carried out an analysis of what Pete Doherty and his band does." Both of these statements from the original interview given by Superintendent Paul Williams The Wiltshire Gazette seem sinister to me. I would be very interested to have a look at his report on Babyshambles "methods" of creating a "whirlpool" which encourages "fighting" amongst the fans. Further to that it brings up the image of bobbies in plain clothes standing at the back of a show taking notes about the show which, amusing in theory, does have some disturbing Big Brother undertones. I must also state that we would have been very happy to take part in this 'analysis' as I am sure would the many, many professional people within the live touring industry we have worked with over the last two years to ensure crowd safety, details of which are also included contractually before a show takes place. I am also very sure these professionals would be delighted to view this 'analysis' by Wiltshire Police for themselves. It may prove educational. We would have been able to talk about show stop procedures in place for crowd collapse / fighting, the insistence on Mojo barriers for crowd control, our policy on stage invaders, the extensive security briefings we have at every venue / event we play .... the list goes on but sadly we were not consulted. It is unusual because of these procedures we have in place for us ever to have resorted to a show stop but in the rare event that it has been necessary the crew and the band have acted as one in the interest of crowd safety. This article paints a different picture and implies somewhat ridiculously that we have patented methods of whipping a crowd up into a dangerous frenzy. Simply not true. If a problem occurs anywhere whether in the crowd, with the equipment or with the safety barriers the band are informed and leave the stage immediately, ceasing all music until the problem is dealt with and the situation is completely safe for them to return to the stage. I have been told that part (or perhaps the whole) of the 'analysis' was based on You Tube footage. I cannot comment on whether this was the case or not nor the quality of the evidence gathered but it would strike me that a call to myself, the tour manager or the production manager (all happy to consult) would have added to the 'analysis' and perhaps served well into giving a broader based picture of the facts as a whole. A further disturbing fact is that if this is indeed the first time Section 160 has been used then Pandora's Box is effectively open. This could have potential knock on effects all the way down the live industry, one of the areas of the massive UK music industry which is buoyant and a massive source of tax revenue and employment both here and abroad. Further to the original interview I read this on BBC 6 Music's website. Superintendent Paul Williams said: "Wiltshire police do not have an issue with Pete Doherty or Babyshambles." "The issue is not the act itself, it is the profile of fans that follow the act." This again seems somewhat sinister to me and I would be delighted to view or discuss the profiling of the fans used to draw this conclusion. I expect that Babyshambles' fans will feel somewhat slighted by this statement as do the band who, as is well documented, have one of the closest affinities with their fans than anyone around in the current music scene. bb".