This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. Festival rocks county town

THE biggest rock music event in Maidstone’s history drew amassive and international crowd of about 20,000 to Mote Park on the lastweekend of July.

The Ramblin’ Man Fair was or- ganised by Classic Rock magazine and offered three stages on both days, with onsite camping, park and ride buses and car parking. The billwas rich in American and European acts, with several exclu- sive attractions including German heavy rock titans The Scorpions making their only UK festival ap- pearance this year and acts such as Polish prog rockers Riverside. The Downs Mail was on site on

both days, speaking to fans from all over Europe, and even as far away as San Francisco. The range of acts was breathtaking, with many pro- ducing stunning performances. Inside the arena the atmosphere

was celebratory, thewarm Saturday weather making for a party feel and the rain for the first half of Sunday’s schedule forcing the early perform- ers to push the limits as they tried to warm up the crowd. Icelandic heavy rockers Solstafir joked that the weather made them feel at home. Sunday ended with a main stage performance from American rock legendGreggAllman,whose former band The Allman Brothers had a huge hit with Ramblin’ Man. The fair offered more tickets than Maidstone’s previous biggest rock concert, Radio One’s BigWeekend in 2008. There was a bonus for busi- nesses, with hotels, bars and restau- rants reporting increased trade. Maidstone Grammar School of-

fered camping on its playing field. The stream of people clutching Sainsbury’s bags packed with food as they headed to the site suggested

Council tax

band advice TONBRIDGE and Malling Council has issued a warning after phone salesman targeted residents across the borough about council tax. Residents said they had been con-

tacted by companies who said they had been placed in the wrong coun- cil tax band. The callers offered to apply on their behalf to get the valu- ation band reduced for a fee of £55. However, the council stressed that

this service can be obtained free from the Valuation Office Agency. Cllr Martin Coffin, cabinet mem-

ber for finance and innovation, said: “While it is perfectly permissible for companies to offer to provide this service, residents can obtain the same council tax valuation service free of charge by contacting the val- uation office directly.” Anyone wishing to make the free

check should contact the valuation office on 0300 0501 501.

Photo: Andy Archer Wind spreads

noise issues THE strong westerly wind during theweekend prompted residents in Madginford, Downswood, Grove Green,VintersPark andThurnham to complain about noise. Natasha Bastone, from Grove Green, said the music drowned out the film she was watching on tele- vision with her family. She said: “I love to party but

the Romney Place supermarket had done a roaring trade. Reactions on social media from

festival-goers were almost unani- mouslypositive, withmanypraising the quality of the performances and

Boost for town By Neil Nixon

IWILL not bore you withmy music obsession but my first published journalism as a student was about rock music and I am still writing books on the subject today. Whatever the judgments about

noise and nuisance I can only say that the festival was one of the best-organised events I have ever attended. The quality of acts lower down the bill was life-affirming: standouts were the pristine beauty of Camel and the incendiary blues of Joanne Shaw Taylor. To have such an event of this

quality in town is a bonus to allwho love their livemusic.

well-chosen line-ups on each stage. However, there were complaints about poor information on the park and ride bus service and many resi- dents complained about the level of noise during the two days.

Cash donation

THE Rock Collective, which organ- ised the Ramblin’ Man festival has announced a fund to support proj- ects in the Maidstone area. The fund of about £10,000 will

help groups to deliver cultural, en- tertainment or sports-related proj- ects to thank the town for supporting the festival, which was expected to bring at least £700,000 into Maidstone's economy. Anyone can apply to the fund to

help to stage a community event or run a community project. Applicants should contact for more details. Applications close on Sep- tember 4. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of September.

when you have a young child, this booming music over the whole weekend was too loud. I have no problem with the festival return- ing, but the organiser needs to do something about the volume.” On Maidstone Council’s Face-

book page, Sandra Woodfall said: “We live on the PilgrimsWay and can hear the music above the noise of the motorway.We find it disap- pointing that when the council is promoting an event it doesn’t pro- vide an out-of-hours service that covers the duration of the event so that complaints can be dealt with.” Maidstone Council said it had re-

ceived 48 formal complaints. A spokesman said: “We have also re- ceived positive comments about how the festival handled issues such as traffic and litter. All feed- back received will be considered when looking at future events.” The spokesman said noise did

not breach the licence terms and confirmed the organiser is looking to return on July 23 and 24, 2016.

Poop scoopers clean up Wood yard

YOUNGSTERS from three Larkfield schools dressed up in Scooper Hero capes to help raise awareness of dog fouling issues. The pupils, from Lunsford Junior School and Brookfield Juniors and In-

fant Schools, were joined by officers from Tonbridge and Malling Council and ward Cllr Trudy Dean as part of a national campaign to promote the message of responsible dog ownership. The council’s Clean Borough teamthen car- ried out patrols on the footpaths surrounding the schools – Swallow Road, Larkfield recre- ation ground and Mar- tin Square – “bagging and flagging” the dog mess they found. Officers spoke to more than 30 people during the exercise and said all of

them commented on how clean and tidy Larkfieldwas and how dog foul- ing in the area had improved. Intelligencewas also gathered on peoplewho still fail to pickupafter their dogs and this would be acted on in the next few weeks.

fire ‘arson’ A BLAZE in a large pile of wood chips at a Mereworth timber yard could have been started by children. Kent Fire and Rescue Service said

the fire at the Malling Road site had been started deliberately. Children had been seen breaking in. Firefighters were called after a

large stack of wood shavings caught fire. Five fire crews tackled the blaze, preventing it from spreading to homes, and remained at the scene until 8.20am next day. Residents were warned to stay indoors and close windows as a cloud of smokewas generated. The timber yard is owned by

John Drake, whose brother Phil said everything was normal when he locked up and left but he re- ceived a phone call two hours later, alerting him that therewas a fire. The firm planned to remain open despite the blaze.

Malling August 2015 17


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