Berkshire

Reading Festival set for extra 5,000 revellers in 2019

Two girls with camping gear Image copyright PA
Image caption Up to 105,000 could attend the festival this year

Reading Festival will be open to an extra 5,000 people after a rise in capacity was backed for the second successive year.

Reading Council's "confidence" in festival organisers led to the increase being supported after discussions at a meeting last week.

The festival's limit was increased by the same amount in 2018, meaning up to 105,000 revellers can now attend.

Proposals to scrap plastic bottles at the event were discarded.

Image caption Reading Festival may have its capacity raised by a further 5,000

Council officer James Crosby said the increase reflected the authority's "confidence" in Festival Republic's (FR) management of the festival, while councillors praised the music promoter's safeguarding and sustainability efforts at Reading 2018.

A safeguarding co-ordinator was appointed for last year's event and 24-hour safe hubs were introduced to provide support to festival-goers.

There were more than 2,000 visits to these safe spaces over the course of the festival.

'Really proud'

Noel Painting, health and safety event organiser at FR, attended the meeting on 13 March to answer questions about the event, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

He said while FR was "really proud" of the progress made in safeguarding those in attendance, it was looking at ways to further enhance safety measures.

Councillor Sarah Hacker, lead member for culture, heritage and recreation, said: "Thank you for the sheer amount of hard work that is put into these festivals, both by Reading Borough Council and Festival Republic.

"It's nice to see that it is safe for young people to attend."

The event will take place between 23-25 August.

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