'Music festival will be good for Betley': Tom Jones and Olly Murs approached
VILLAGERS have given a cautious welcome to plans for a new music festival on their doorstep.
The inaugural Junction 16 festival will take place at Betley Court Farm in Betley this summer after organisers were granted a licence.
Retro and current pop stars are expected to draw crowds of up to 45,000 over three days in August.
The farm, owned by Frank and Jayne Speed, already hosts thousands of people at the annual Betley Show and firework display.
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Some residents said they believed the event would bring money to the village.
Main Road resident Cynthia Arrowsmith, aged 72, said: "I'm not sure where they're going to fit all of those people, but I think this will be a good thing for Betley.
"I like Frank and Jayne and so I'm sure it will go well. I think there was a one-off concert here a few years ago, with Elvis and Frank Sinatra tributes, and that went well."
Eric Fisher, aged 82, of Main Road, also welcomed the plans.
He said: "It will bring money and visitors to the village. There will always be people who moan and groan about things like this, but why shouldn't we have it in Betley?"
Sue Robinson, who works at Betley Shop and lives in the village, does not believe the festival will cause too much disruption.
The 49-year-old said: "It will be just like Betley Show or the fireworks, and thousands of people come to them every year. I think this will be really good for Betley. It will bring money into the village, and will help put it on the map."
But other villagers were less enthusiastic about the plans.
Main Road resident Liz Middleton lives close to the farm, and has concerns over the amount of noise the event will generate.
The 63-year-old said: "I used to love going to Betley Show when I was a girl. It was nice, but in recent years it's got really loud.
"When they play loud music the bass reverberates through my house, and the fireworks terrified my cat. I think this music festival will be worse.
"I do like the people at the farm, but I am a bit concerned about this new event."
The Junction 16 festival is being organised by George Bailey, of Betley Mere Concerts. Talks are underway to secure acts such as Tom Jones and Olly Murs for the event at the 252-acre farm, which will take place between August 9 and 11.
The licence granted by Newcastle Borough Council will allow live and recorded music to be played between 2pm and 10.30pm, as well as the sale of alcohol.
Mrs Speed, aged 47, said: "Everyone seems very supportive of the plans and we know how to run an event of this size because we have done it before with the show and Betley bonfire.
"The land is in a good location and has very good road links."