FAMOUS performance poet Attila the Stockbroker laid into a council for its bid to stop the first Blakefest in Bognor Regis.
Attila accused Arun District Council of being uncaring about the celebration of the life and works of William Blake in prose and music.
He told the Post: “The council has tried to stifle this event. It’s a disgraceful attitude. It’s disgraceful to Bognor Regis and disgraceful to William Blake. “From the start, they have been people who don’t know what creativity is.
“I have been doing this for a living for 35 years and I’ve got a real experience of festivals but I don’t think I’ve ever come across a council with the same attitude as Arun.
“Councils normally try to encourage individuals who come up with ideas for festivals. They want to support them.
“But the opposite has happened here. It appears the council has not wanted Blakefest to happen. It seems to me to be completely ridiculous to have that atttitude, for whatever reason. No-one seems to know what time anyone is supposed to be on because everything has had to be changed at the last minute.
“People who are organising festivals like this should get proper support from councils. That has not happened here. Arun should be proud individuals want to stage a festival like this.”
Attila, real name John Baine, organises the annual Glastonwick music and beer festival near Shoreham, close to his home in Southwick. “Over there, Adur District Council are always helpful and want to see the festival take place,” he said.
To help to overcome the difficulties, he has offered to use this experience to assist Blakefest’s organisers, Sean Parker and Rachel Searle, stage another festival next year. “I’ve told them that, if they can get a settled venue, I will be happy to help. This is a good idea for a festival and I want it to do well,” he added.
As reported, Arun refused permission less than a week before last weekend’s festival to stage Blakefest at Bognor Regis Sports Ground because it had been advised the organisers’ bid for three temporary events licences for the venue would have been illegal.
This was the third location in three months which had been put forward for the music and poetry occasion to celebrate Blake’s influence on contemporary culture. An Arun spokesman said: “The council fully supports any events which promote art and culture in Bognor Regis but they must adhere to licensing laws and be planned well in plenty of time.”
Attila the Stockbroker has toured the world with his brand of sharp-tongued, high energy poetry and music. He has appeared at every Glastonbury since 1983.