Teenager tickets hit by licensing laws

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A COMBINATION of timing and unexpected demand for tickets has ruled youngsters out of attending this year’s Mo Fest headlining gig, the festival committee’s chairman has said.

Young people under the age of 18 are unable to attend the Toploader concert in the town hall as the committee would be in breach of the terms of its alcohol licence for the event.

Although there have been several inquiries about the gig from teenagers since it was announced a month ago, chairman David Paton said the timing of the announcement combined with the timing of Angus Council’s licensing board meeting meant there would have been little time left to sell the tickets.

He also said that while previous years’ headlining concerts have also had bar facilities with the same licensing arrangements, the question of under 18s attending has “never cropped up before”.

He added: “It’s never been a question as all the bands we’ve had in the past have been older generation bands. Because of Toploader dating from the late 1990s and early 2000s people have asked about bringing their kids along.

“When people started asking questions we had to look into it but at this stage there just wouldn’t have been enough time to do anything about it and it would have been too much work for us. We’re not blaming the council for this, but there are only seven of us and there’s only so much we can do.

“We were caught off guard a little but next year we will be getting the application for the gig in straight away so we can overcome that. We’re really focusing on youth this year by extending the High Street event to Sunday and bringing the Youth Festival on to the High Street so young people will still be a part of things.”

Councillor Paul Valentine, who is a committee member as well as a member of the licensing board, said there was little that could have been done.

He continued: “Because of the timing of the licensing board it would have been difficult for us to get everything sorted out in time and keep back tickets for under 18s that we might not have been able to sell. It’s a lesson learned and we will have to make sure that we speak to the licensing officer early enough to make sure our licensing objectives are maintained if we’re going down the route of having under 18s.”