EMOTIONS ran high as villagers’ voiced their concerns over a proposed dance music festival of up to 1,500 revellers on the edge of the Forest.

Parishioners were told that GemFest was not an agenda item up for discussion at Walford Parish Council’s meeting.

But councillors agreed that the strength of feeling about the event at Great Howle Farm between June 14 and 16, should be discussed.

The organisers of GemFest – which will feature drum and bass, garage, house, and disco music until 3am – .have applied to Herefordshire Council for a temporary events licence.

But the parish council were not informed by the county’s licensing department, which will rule on the application on June 7.

One concerned landowner said: “People wouldn’t be far wrong in thinking this is a rave in all but name. 

A parishioner said: “We are just a small fraction of those who live locally who don’t want to see this event go ahead. 

“This is a massive issue as it would more than double the size of the local population over that weekend. There are so many other issues that need addressing before an event like this is held.

“Is there anything this council can do to put pressure on the licensing authority?”

Cllr Bridget Vine said: “Objections to GemFest, as far as the licensing of the event, can only be raised on issues concerning the health and safety aspect.

“As this is a one-off event, as it is at present, it is likely to have lots of problems and people will write to Herefordshire Council and the authority will have to reconsider any repeat application in the future. It is very difficult to stop a one-off event.”

Parish council chairman Cllr Joanne Akers said the council is not a statutory consultee for licensing issues and added: “Consequently we were not told about this festival until the notices went up... We have no authority to formally comment to Herefordshire Council.”

Councillors voted to write to Herefordshire Council objecting to the licensing application, which will be heard by the local authority on Friday, (June 7).