ORGANISERS of the weekend Jam In The Park have said they would never have proceeded with planning for the event at Inver Park, had they received any indication that it would have to end at 11pm.
Mervyn McKay, one of the team behind the music gig featuring hip-hop star Grandmaster Flash, hailed it as a “big success” despite a last-minute move to Belfast’s Mynt Nightclub.
“It was great to see so many people from Larne come up and support us on the night and we attracted a great crowd from Belfast,” he said. “I would like to thank all the local people who attended and who created such an amazing atmosphere.
“Obviously, the ideal scenario was that the event should have taken place in Larne, but one big positive is we are looking to build on the success of the night and will be promoting more nights in Belfast. We are already negotiating with a number of major acts.”
The Larne Times reported last week that Larne Borough Council set out to counter claims that it had refused an entertainments licence for the event. The local authority said a licence had been granted, subject to conditions including noise control and the finishing time.
It had been the organisers’ decision to move to the gig to Belfast because they preferred a 2am quitting time, said the council.
Jam In The Park was held at two venues on Saturday, with live music throughout the day, as planned, at Inver Park, and the headline act appearing at Mynt that night.
Mr McKay claimed that the organisers had consulted with the council before submitting an application for an event finishing at 1am, adding that there had been further contact before setting out to promote the event.
“The 11pm licence issue came as a complete shock to us, as we had consulted before applying for a 1am licence and before we went to full promotion. The message we got was everything will be straightforward and it was OK to begin promotion,” he said.
“We are not arguing that 11 pm was not the right decision in the end, we are just stating that this was not the information we were given prior to submission. We are a bit disappointed at being told only three weeks before, when we first spoke to the council in the spring, with the application being submitted soon after. However, we accept Council are bound by law,” Mr McKay added.
He contested the council’s claim that the change-of-venue call was made because 150 tickets had been sold: “I don’t know where this came from. If we had sold one ticket or 1,000 tickets it would have made no difference. The sole reason behind moving the event was the 11pm issue.”
Mr McKay deemed the event a success, adding: “The only downside is that it did take our members out of the town and damaged our usual Saturday trade at the football club with them as they attended the event. But we are looking forward to our next club night, called Jam, in a Belfast venue in the next few months.
“I would also like to thank Larne Borough Council for trying to help us to resolve the issue - we appreciated it - and also in continuing to support the summer arts programme, which has helped over 40 local children to access the arts.”