Letters, August 14: Rhythms critics need a reality check, and more


Letters - Credit: Archant

Critics who quibbled over the £15 ticket charge for Hitchin’s Rhythms of the World festival have been challenged by a fan of the event, and asked: Where else would you get such value for money?

Rhythms critics need a reality check

Having attended every Rhythms of the World festival since its inception, I consider myself in a position to answer the social media critics quoted in your report (Comet, August 7).

The ticket price was, in fact, increased by 50 per cent, not a third, which may make the tweeters even more angry. But £15 is a meagre amount to pay to experience such excellent and varied music, and £2 for a programme with so much information is a bargain. The entry cost also covered numerous other events and activities.

Take into account the inflation of everything since the last festival in 2012 – artists’ fees, stages, lighting, riggers, toilets, additional insurance against bad weather, and the like, and perhaps the ill-informed and misguided tweeters might begin to appreciate that.

One says that the festival’s move into the grounds of the Priory has caused many empty shops in Hitchin. Rhythms must be a very powerful force if it can bring that about despite running for just one weekend a year!

Admittedly, Rhythms was unique when held in the town centre, but it was inevitable that with continued success it would outgrow it. When it was in the town the only tradespeople who benefited were those selling alcohol, much of which got into the hands of minors, which unfortunately caused an unpleasant atmosphere

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Many shops wanted the festival moved from the town because shoppers were reluctant to come into the town due to the overcrowding. There were just too many people to make it safe and comfortable.

I’ve been to a great number of festivals over the years and I can assure you that Rhythms is amongst the very best.

OK, it may not have as many big names, but the excellent music is, in many cases, better than the ‘names’.

Go to some other entry-paying festivals – if you’re prepared to cough up – and see how much music you get to the pound in comparison.

If you think ‘they’ had to spoil it – do you know who ‘they’ are? – I’ve got a solution which will get you in for free.

Volunteer to become a member of ‘their’ team and find out how much hard work and dedication goes into putting on a special event such as this, all on a voluntary basis.

Nobody is forcing you to go to Rhythms, or the cinema, or bowling, or down the pub, so just pay up next year and be grateful for such a wonderful occasion which is a great asset to the community and the charities who benefit.

Name and address supplied

No, Stevenage does not need more KFC

I agree with the critics who say that we do not need another fast food outlet in Stevenage (Comet, July 31).

I rarely eat out in the town, as the choice is poor – especially as I’m also vegetarian.

I also agree the overall image of the town has declined over the years and isn’t really a place you can take pride in living in.

No more fast food, bargain shops or betting shops, please!

Mary Worsley, address supplied

Let’s stop making town look cheap

I totally agree with Councillor Howard Burrell’s comments on a new KFC restaurant – we should stop making Stevenage look cheap.

People in the town value their homes and gardens, let’s make them feel the same about their town.

Because of the poor choice of eating out in Stevenage we often go out of town to have a decent meal and it is not always more expensive.

It gets boring eating in warehouse-type places with loud music – even some kids might be pleasantly surprised with something new and different.

Name and address supplied

A salute to all who made concert sing

I should like to record the thanks of the Stevenage branch of the Royal British Legion to the Stevenage Ladies Choir and their guests, The Luton Male Voice Choir, for an excellent afternoon’s entertainment.

The tea and cakes served by local cadets were first class, and the First World War centenary commemorative concert which followed was outstanding.

The inspirational programme, evoking so many memories of the past, was enjoyed by the whole audience, and the finale of songs from the 1914-1918 era in which everyone vigorously participated, flags waving, must have tested the roof structure. A huge well done to all involved.

The afternoon on July 19 generated a magnificent donation of £1,200 for which the branch is most sincerely grateful.

John Jeffery, chairman, Stevenage branch, Royal British Legion

I was stung after reporting wasps

A word of warning: if you have a wasps nest, as we found in our roof fascia on returning from holiday, do not contact Stevenage Borough Council.

On phoning the council’s pest control department I was advised that there would be a cost of £60 and that my number would be passed on to contractors.

The nest was quickly dealt with, but we then found the contractors would have charged only £49 and offered a 20 per cent discount for seniors, for which we would qualify, if contacted directly.

The £60 charge is decided by the council and the contractors, SBK, are not authorised to vary this.

When I queried this, a council representative said that it was up to the individual to look around for cheaper quotes as they would not be aware of them.

I am somewhat bemused – I thought that the council was supposed to work in the best interests of its ratepayers, and that ‘bulk’ contracts normally meant a saving not an increase in price.

If we were comparing two different companies it might make some sense, but this is not the case.

It would appear that in some instances council staff are not making the best deals on our behalf.

M Curtin, address supplied

Why so hot under the collar about chill?

In response to your correspondent who was troubled by the temperature of the Waitrose store on Stevenage High Street (Comet, July 31) I would like to point out that the cold allows for:

l The preservation of food, reducing waste and improving quality.

l The comfort of staff in Waitrose who work hard and often in a physically demanding role to stay at a comfortable temperature.

l Old people are especially susceptible to overheating during the summer and Waitrose is offering a public service to help them keep cool.

l There are actually important and bad things happening in both the area and the world, so I wonder what is the point of this letter?

Waitrose has a customer service desk for a reason – ask them!

Julie Gibbings, Wansbeck Close, Stevenage

Drivers bring danger for Willian’s ducks

While driving through Willian at around 6.30am one morning last week I was heartbroken to find a recently hit dead mallard in the road on the junction by the pond.

I stopped to move her body out of the road and was mortified to find the body of a second female mallard on the pavement with similar injuries, and also a likely victim of a car.

This summer alone we have now had three mallards and two moorhens killed on the road and another moorhen injured by a car, that I know of and possibly more.

What beggars belief is how anyone driving through the 30mph speed limit of the entire village, approaching a junction on a bend, where the pond is located, is unable to stop to allow any wildfowl in the road to move.

I implore drivers to approach the junction with care to avoid any further injuries or fatalities of our pond wildlife.

Perhaps local residents would join me in writing to the relevant authorities to request a ‘wildfowl crossing’ sign to be positioned on all approaches to the pond.

Julie Morris Smith, address supplied

Luton’s flightpath is obviously overhead

In reply to a Stevenage reader who asked about the Luton Airport flightpath (Letters, July 31) it has been obvious for a long time that the flightpath has been slowly moving north towards the Lister Hospital.

With the increase in late night and early morning flights, and with major expansion on the cards, we are in for hell in Stevenage.

During the recent sunny weather, I have noticed while sitting in the garden that aircraft have become noisier and seem to be lower than before. I am surprised that more people have not complained.

Name and address supplied

A big thank you to my Rhythms rescuers

Through the Comet, I would like to thank three people who very quickly gave me the assistance as I was leaving the recent Rhythms of the World festival in Hitchin.

A man noticed I was struggling to breath and found a chair for me. He was accompanied by two ladies, and these three people escorted me to the Three Moorhens pub where they were able to call a taxi for me, to take me safely home. I am very grateful for their help.

Marilyn Vaughan, Bedford Road, Hitchin

‘Jumble’ display is a garden city glory

A word of praise for the really splendid flower bed which can be seen on the eastern side of what we used to call the Town Hall in Letchworth?

Unusually, it’s a gloriously mixed-up crowd of wild flowers, in contrast to the neatly planted beds at the front of the building, fine those always are.

This crazy new jumble of colour is a very happy surprise for residents, and visitors to a real Garden City.

Kenneth Johnson, Spring Road, Letchworth

Concern at role of Cow Commoners

As someone who has followed the fortunes of Hitchin Town FC for more than 50 years – I can name the 1961 FA Amateur Cup semi-final side and Tommy Everett was my dad’s insurance man, need I say more? – I ask, not for the first time, who exactly are the Cow Commoners who have such an important role to play and why do they seem to have the power to brush aside more than 100 years of tradition and history?

With plans for a Tesco store on Top Field once more on the agenda, I think these people should be named so those of us who are totally against The Canaries being forced to move from their home at least know who we are up against.

Phil Newstead, Webb Close, Letchworth

We are on the case to sort gate issue

In response to Ken Burton’s letter on disabled access at Oughtonhead Common, the existing self-closing gate has a radar lock fitted which means is it accessible to anyone who is registered as disabled.

However, representatives of the Countryside Management Service and North Herts District Council met Mr Burton on site to discuss his accessibility concerns and it was agreed that the gate was restrictive to larger mobility scooters.

A new gate, which will not automatically close, is now on order but as it has to be custom-made it will take around five weeks to arrive.

Councillor Peter Burt, portfolio holder for environment, North Herts District Council

Bricks and mortar is not the answer

I’m concerned that Paul Beasley’s comments (The Business, August 7) were mainly concerned about tax on the purchase and sale of property and seemed to suggest that property price inflation is at the centre of the real economy.

Under this government’s policies, that may be true. But the sub-prime crisis in the USA was enabled by that kind of asset price inflation.

It’s worth remembering that a third of the state debt bemoaned in his column was incurred bailing out the banks as a result of the financial crisis, and that total UK debt – once you include private debt – is about the same as the total debt of the world leader, Japan.

Chris Jones, Letchworth

Why was pet left with drunken idiot?

Further to the your report about a teenager swinging the little chihuahua around his neck, I totally agree with the dog’s owner that the punishment was disgracefully lenient. I admire her for going to the police but I can’t help wondering why a much loved pet was put in the care of a drunken idiot?

The owner obviously cares for, loves and needs her dogs and I sincerely wish them a long and happy life together.

Kathleen Jarrett Fairview Road, Stevenage

Anniversary date

The spotlight has been on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, which began on August 4, 1914 – but we should also remember that on September 3 we will be marking 75 years since the start of the Second World War.

A. J. Hollis, Ordelmere, Letchworth

Bogus honesty

The person who smashed into my parked car in The Quadrant, Stevenage, on the morning of Monday, July 28, obviously thought they would appear to be honest to any witnesses and put a name and number on the windscreen – but it was a bogus number. I have a disabled badge which was on display, but people like that have no conscience. If anybody was a witness, please phone 07846 396271 particularly if you managed to get the number plate.

Name and address supplied.

This is the headline style 20pt OK


returns from extracting fossil fuels.

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