We Are 500 - We Are FSTVL’s answer to socially-distanced raving in Upminster
- Credit: Andrew Whitton
Dance music festival We Are FSTVL returns to Upminster this weekend – but in a very different format.
Each Saturday and Sunday from September 5 to October 4, We Are FSTVL is offering just under 500 tickets a day to see the likes of Chase & Status and Loco Dice. The audience will be in a socially-distanced bubble with two to six friends.
Each group in their pod will have a table and an umbrella.
The festival at Damyns Hall Aerodrome, which normally takes place over the bank holiday weekend at the end of May, was originally licensed for 90,000, and organisers say they intend to return in 2021 with more than 300 acts split over 30 stages.
Resident Alex Jones said of this month’s plans: “It will hopefully be quieter and will put less pressure on the roads due to the sheer amount of people that normally turn up, but should still allow an increase of business when they come gradually.
“Shops needs to make sure people use the hand sanitiser and masks, as there’s no doubt those 500 groups will not all be social distancing.”
Gemma Preston, who lives opposite Damyns Hall, said: “I was very shocked and upset that local residents hadn’t been given the courtesy of being advised these events were being planned.”
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As the event is being licensed through a Temporary Event Notice, which allows for gatherings of strictly 500 people five times a year, residents are not notified.
She added: “Given the circumstances, it isn’t hard to post a note through the door.
“I am not necessarily against it but without the knowledge of how this is being organised we will obviously have concerns.
“I have two young children, one of which is going back to school for the first time in six months on Monday, and I find it highly inappropriate that this is going on over the weekend.”
Another resident Steve Kavanagh added: “It’s time to try and get our lives back in a controlled way, I’m sure they will follow the rules and help get our local economy back up and running.
“I’m proud that we have a nationally recognised festival in our town and if this helps them keep their heads above water great.”
Kicking off week one, the opening party sees sets from WAF favourites GW Harrison, Jess Bays, Low Steppa and Sam Divine on the Saturday whilst the Sunday sees a techno take over from Loco Dice and wAFF.
Week two opens up with Chase & Status, Rage and Sammy Virgi with Patrick Topping & guests taking over the Sunday. Week three continues with Andy C and Harriet Jaxxon whilst the Solardo boys will be tearing it up on Sunday.