SECURITY is being stepped up at an annual music festival after drunken rowdies threw the future of the popular charity event into jeopardy.
Organisers considered pulling the plug on Woodfest last year when a small number of boozed-up yobs started fires, stole property and encouraged fights.
But the sixth festival – at Highcliffe Farm, near Cross Roads, from July 25 to 27 – will go ahead.
"Last year there were a few people who spoiled the great Woodfest atmosphere in the camping area and so this time we’ve doubled security and placed a perimeter fence around the festival area," said Andrew Wood, a Sue Ryder regional fundraiser at Manorlands hospice, which benefits from the proceeds of the event.
"These extra measures have come at a cost, but we need to make sure the down side of last year’s event is not repeated.”
Some of those who performed at last year's extravaganza – which raised £16,000 for the Oxenhope hospice – are returning, plus some bands will be making their debut.
On the Friday evening, about eight bands will entertain, with three-piece pop/rock outfit My Forever headlining the set after technical problems meant it couldn't perform last year.
Newcomer Declan Vink will also take to the stage.
Saturday's programme will include a Battle of the Bands competition, with the winner performing that evening together with six other acts.
Places are still available in the contest – see the Woodfest facebook page.
The evening session will also feature returning bands including NOWT, Indianic, Brian J Comber with MESA, and headliner You Had Me At Hello.
Camping will be available throughout the weekend and there will be a licensed bar, catering stands and free parking.
Discounted advance tickets are now available – from woodfest.org.uk, several pubs and Sue Ryder shops – priced £7 for the Friday evening, £8 for the Saturday or £12 for the full weekend.
Camping will be an extra £5 per person, to cover some of the additional security costs.
Tickets will be available on the gate, subject to capacity, at full price.