Bluesfest announces ban on folding chairs in big tents
THERE will be dancing in the tents, literally, at next year's Bluesfest with the announcement that folding chairs will be banned from taking them into the Mojo or Crossroads marquees.
It has been a vexed issue for many years at Bluesfest, with those who bring their own camping chairs arguing that they pay good money and have a right to enjoy their favourite acts in comfort.
On the other side of the argument there are those who think the chairs take up too much space and inhibit others from getting into prime viewing positions.
Bluesfest director Peter Noble declined an interview with The Northern Star, but announced in an emailed newsletter that there would be some fixed seating in the Mojo and Crossroad venues, but that all folding chairs would have to remain outside the tent. He said they would provide a covered space and large screens for those who wished to bring a chair.
"Unfortunately there is no way to please everybody with this and I do hope you will give us an opportunity to make this work for as many people as possible," Mr Noble said in the newsletter.
But long-term Bluesfest fan Lucy Ashley said she and her friends won't be going back because of the change in policy.
"It would have been my tenth year in a row," Ms Ashley said.
"I used to not take a chair, which was fine when you are young, but I am in my 50s now and I can't do five days standing up.
"My friends and I often get there at 11 or 12 in the morning, so we need that extra comfort to put in the hours that we do."
Ms Ashley said there were some people who were "chair abusers" - people who plant their chairs in a prime spot, leave them and expect to be able to come back. Or those who set up in the aisles and cause gridlock within the tents.
"We don't do that, we're very respectful, but I do miss the good old days when it was a bit more chilled. I guess we were lucky to have been there in those days," she said.