Ticketholders for this year’s Alive @ Delapre festival have been told they cannot take food into the arena and instead have the option of buying £20 ‘picnic packs’ and food from other traders.
The move has angered some festivalgoers who, in the first year, were allowed to take in food as they waited for the concerts to start.
Organisers have only emailed them this week that they cannot bring into the venue, instead they have been told they can eat their food in the park before the gates open ahead of the concerts.
Inside the venue area they have been told they can buy “picnic packs” at £20 each and other types of food and drink from a range of traders.
But people who have spent at least £120 per person on tickets for all three nights are angry that they cannot take food into the arean area.
Julie Barnes, of Melchester Close in Hardingstone, said: “No information was made available when I made the purchase said that we wouldn’t be able to bring food like we did last year, and being able to sit with your family and friends for a picnic is half the fun of it.
“This does change things and if I had known at the time, I may not have bought tickets at all.
“The borough council have done a U-turn and I think that if they are really that concerned about profit then they should have factored that into the price of the ticket in the first place.
“Nobody is going to turn up in the middle of the afternoon at 4pm to have a picnic in the park then pack it all away again and get in the queue for the show. The whole point is to be able to enjoy both at the same time, just like you are allowed to at any other outdoor festival,” she said.
A spokesperson from Northampton Borough Council said: “As with other concerts, there will be a large variety of hot food and drink outlets on offer to the public.
“The range of food is carefully considered, and there are a variety of options in terms of personal taste and price to suit a wide audience.
“Ticket holders are welcome to enjoy a picnic in the park before the gates open, but no food can be brought into the arena.”
In response to a complaint from another customer, a council representative said that they have changed their policy this year “in order to keep up with competition from other commercial events” and that “it had not been advertised that guests’ own food and drink could be taken into the arena”.
Stuart Rogers, of Bouverie Road in Hardingstone, added: “That would be a lovely option any other day of the week but it means that, if you have food left over, you will be forced to throw it away.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Sauls of Spratton was “catering the event”. We have been asked to make it clear that Sauls of Spratton is not the only trader at the event and additional food and drink will be sold by other local traders inside the arena. We are happy to clarify the situation and apologise for any confusion and upset caused.
Sauls of Spratton, in a statement, said: “It is true that we are offering a picnic pack alongside a range of other offerings from a number of LOCAL food traders, including us. On offer will be our hog roast, pizza fish and chips and burgers (Northamptonshire beef from Gallops Farm on Welford Road) from a local catering company, a local pick and mix vendor and local ice cream. The picnic pack is merely an option alongside these offerings for people who would prefer it, not the only option replacing people bringing their own food.
“We would also like to point out that it is standard practice to restrict people bringing their own food to ticketed concerts, festivals and shows. It costs food vendors a great deal to be at these events and cover the costs of products, fridges, ground rents, staffing for long hours etc and it is unfair to expect companies to provide food at local events at a loss. We cater events around the country from music concerts, and sporting events to shows, festivals, and any number of unique events. We recently catered at Kings of Leon in MK, Kasabian in Leicester, and London Calling at Clapham Common and none of these events allowed people to bring their own food.
“Our picnic pack uses English Red Tractor Pork, local eggs, handmade pastry, and a selection of other items that in total make the picnic pack almost a sold at cost product. The story should have been about how the event will be showcasing local food catering companies, supporting local business.”