Exeter band stand off after complaints of controlling space

PUBLISHED: 17:30 13 August 2018

Windslide. Ref shs 32 18TI 9574. Picture: Terry Ife

Windslide. Ref shs 32 18TI 9574. Picture: Terry Ife

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An Exeter band has defended themselves after being accused of 'controlling' performance space at FolkWeek.

Windslide. Ref shs 32 18TI 9574. Picture: Terry IfeWindslide. Ref shs 32 18TI 9574. Picture: Terry Ife

Windslide were approached by the East Devon District Council’s environmental health team on Monday following complaints they had been performing up to seven-hours-a-day.

Further concerns included large crowds blocking the shop entrances and obstructing the road.

From Wednesday, the band has also been playing outside Haymans Butchers as part of an agreement with the council.

Gideon Letch, from Windslide, said they explained they did not hog the spot and felt the incident could have been handled better.

Windslide. Ref shs 32 18TI 9581. Picture: Terry IfeWindslide. Ref shs 32 18TI 9581. Picture: Terry Ife

He said: “Unfortunately we do take up a bit of space and we can be loud at times so we only have realistically two spots to busk in.

“Plus the big crowds we’re pulling means we need a bit of space in front of us.

“Busking is a competitive business and we take it seriously. How many other bands and musicians are going to be at their spot at 7.30am to claim it?

“Is it right to then give it up for someone who just turns up in the afternoon expecting to have a prime spot leaving us with no other alternative space.

Windslide. Ref shs 32 18TI 9576. Picture: Terry IfeWindslide. Ref shs 32 18TI 9576. Picture: Terry Ife

“We’ll always work with other buskers and we like to think we’re down to we’re down to earth and reasonable chaps.”

Bandmate Dave Litster added: “We like coming to FolkWeek; it’s great to meet and greet everyone and perform for people.

“The support we get is unbelievable and we get to talk to everyone while we’re performing, we get to communicate with the people who are supporting us.”

An EDDC spokeswoman said its officers issue the same advice to buskers to move around the town.

The spokeswoman said: “When our officer went down, the band were unnecessarily obstructive, inciting the crowd to become involved by complaining about the officer over their sound system.

“Notwithstanding this, the officer gave the same advice as we do to any buskers, and that is to move around the town so that they do not become a problem to local businesses and residents because of the repetitive nature of their music.

“The council and event organisers want everyone to enjoy the festival and this kind of behaviour is likely to cause danger and ill-feeling, spoiling it for people who should be enjoying everything it has to offer.”

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