Belfast Telegraph

Tennent's Vital gets thumbs up for more gigs at Boucher Road Playing Fields venue

By Rebecca Black

A major music festival has been given permission to double the number of concerts it holds in Belfast, it can be revealed.

Tennent's Vital was officially given permission last night by Belfast City Council to hold up to four concerts at the Boucher Road Playing Fields on dates from early August until early September.

The event was also permitted to hold events during the same period for the next three years if organisers agree to conditions.

These include resolving all operational issues to the council's satisfaction, that a legal agreement is completed, and that they meet all statutory requirements, including licences.

The council is also considering "enhancing" the hire fee of the venue.

Promoter MCD has not yet announced when the event will run this year or which bands will be playing. Last year Tennent's Vital ran for two nights and attracted tens of thousands of music fans.

It was headlined by The Killers and David Guetta.

Permission for the return of the concerts passed without debate at Belfast City Council last night.

In 2012 a performance by US rock band Foo Fighters sparked hundreds of complaints among south Belfast residents at the level of noise.

SDLP councillor Claire Hanna represents that area of the city and received scores of complaints about the noise in 2012.

She said since then a huge amount of work had been done on the noise issue, including rotating the stage 180 degrees and other modifications.

"I am very much in favour of people being able to see top quality events that they want to go to, in their own city," she said.

"If you are on the Lisburn Road on the night of the concerts, in the early evening the bars and restaurants are absolutely thriving and it is a real boost for the traders."

But Ms Hanna said she wanted to see more improvements, particularly in terms of the stewarding.

"There needs to be a lot more resource put into the stewarding and in particular preventing underage drinkers getting into trouble; a lot of them don't even make it to the gates," she said.

"Public urination has also been a big problem, more portable toilets should be provided. These costs should be borne by the organisers as far as possible. The council should not be taking a fee on one hand and shelling it all out picking up the pieces.

"Overall, I'm in favour of the event, but we need to minimise the disruption to neighbours."

Background

Tennent's Vital was first held near Botanic Gardens in 2002 then later moved to Ormeau Park in 2007. It then disappeared until August 2011 when it took place at Ward Park in Bangor. It returned to Belfast in 2012 and has been held at Boucher Road Playing Fields each summer since then. In 2012 the SDLP's Claire Hanna received a number of complaints from local residents about the level of noise.

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