With festivals, nightclubs and concerts still either closed or banned due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Kent Police is warning people not to break the law by holding their own unlicensed music events this summer.
A further relaxation of lockdown restrictions was announced by the Government on Tuesday 23 June 2020 but it remains illegal to socialise in groups of more than six people outside of your own household, with those who do meet still advised to stay two metres apart.
Kent Police officers are now taking the opportunity to remind anyone planning to organise an unlicensed music event this summer that they risk committing a number of criminal offences at a time when the coronavirus still poses a serious risk to public health. They also risk having their speakers, lights, sound decks and any other equipment used to set up the event seized in certain circumstances.
Shortly after 10pm on Saturday 27 June 2020 officers were called to an unauthorised gathering in an area of woodland off Harvel Road in Vigo Village, near Meopham, and dispersed a group of approximately 200 people.
Such events are extremely disruptive for local communities and have a detrimental impact on the the most vulnerable members of society and the environment. They can result in damage and littering at commercial premises, the countryside, farmland and beaches, while disused and unmaintained properties can pose significant dangers to anyone who enters.
Unlike authorised music events that would normally be approved by local authorities following consultation with the police, unlicensed events also rarely have security or medical staff on hand to protect those in attendance.
Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Faulconbridge of Kent Police said: ‘While it is understandable that people should miss being able to visit nightclubs, festivals and concerts at this difficult time, that is no excuse for anyone who might be thinking about organising an unlicensed music event.
‘Such events have been illegal for many years but the increased risk of passing Covid-19 from one person to another makes it even more important that people do not hold or attend any mass gatherings of this nature.
‘This is why we will continue to take robust action and will not hesitate to bring people before the courts if necessary. These events have a detrimental impact on local communities and in particular the most vulnerable members of society who are already being badly affected by the impact of the coronavirus.
‘People who organise inappropriate gatherings and help to publicise such events should consider their individual responsibilities for following Government advice and encouraging others to do the same, at a time when Covid-19 continues to pose a significant risk to public health.’
Members of the public are encouraged to look out for any suspicious activity that may indicate the presence of an unlicensed music event and report it to Kent Police by calling 101 or visiting www.kent.police.uk/report
This could include:
Locks and chains on fields and private land being cut or tampered with;
Sound equipment and marquees or tents being set up;
Power generators being hired and brought onto farmland, beaches or rural locations;
Loud music and sound checks in locations where this would not normally be expected;
Large convoys of cars on quiet or rural roads.
Large groups of people gathering.