Hertfordshire's Wilkestock festival to return after licensing row resolved

Wilkestock, which Slaves headlined in 2019 (pictured), has its license back after a 14-month battle against a council

Wilkestock, which Slaves headlined in 2019 (pictured), has its license back after a 14-month battle against East Herts Council - Credit: Mary Cullen

A charity music festival in Hertfordshire can return now that a licensing row is resolved.

East Herts Council has reinstated the license for Wilkestock festival near Watton-at-Stone, months after officers revoked it due to "safety concerns".

The organisers of Wilkestock - which has previously hosted the likes of Bastille, Razorlight, Faithless, The Fratellis and Slaves - said they are "grateful" for the support of fans who wrote to the council in outrage.

Wilkestock festival, near Watton-at-Stone, can return now that a licensing row has been resolved

Wilkestock festival, near Watton-at-Stone, can return now that a licensing row has been resolved - Credit: Wilkestock

In a statement, the organisers said: "We are thrilled to share that - after 14 months of battling - WE HAVE WON OUR LICENCE BACK!

"We cannot tell you how grateful we are for all of your support, and the hundreds of you who took the time to write to the council to express your love and appreciation for Wilkestock and the other events we host on the site."

The license, granted by the district council, was revoked in 2021 - 14 years after the first festival in 2007.

Wilkestock organisers claimed Hertfordshire Constabulary raised safety concerns after the event on Frogmore Hill in 2018.

They said at the time: "We put many new measures in place for our 2019 events and received very positive feedback from police on their implementation."

They described the licence review as a "shock", and claimed the festival had an "excellent safety record".

"Chelsea Dagger" band The Fratellis played Wilkestock in 2018

"Chelsea Dagger" band The Fratellis played Wilkestock in 2018 - Credit: Wilkestock

Following the reinstatement of the license, which was announced on Wednesday, May 18, organisers said Wilkestock 2022 cannot go ahead at short notice.

But they said: "We have some really exciting plans and partnerships in the works for Wilkestock 2023, and we hope all those with tickets will hold on to them for just a little longer so you can party with us next year.

"Dates for 2023 will be released as soon as possible."

Wilkestock, near Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage, is set to return in 2023

Wilkestock, near Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage, is set to return in 2023 - Credit: Wilkestock

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An East Herts Council spokesperson said: "Shortly before an appeal hearing, the organisers agreed a revised set of licence conditions.

"These addressed the concerns of the review proceedings submitted by the Police and other interested parties.

"This was then approved by District Judge Fudge at Luton Magistrates Court on March 21, 2022."

Tom and Olly Wilkes launched the family after the death of Matt Wilkes, who died at the age of 24 in a climbing accident.

Since it began in 2007, festival-goers have raised £100,000 for the Keswick Mountain Rescue and Blood Cancer UK.