Liverpool festival switched to Southport amid fears of upsetting grieving swans

Some Toxteth residents claimed the sale of alcohol at the Far Away Land festival would lead to disorderly behaviour and upset the park’s recently bereaved male swan.

A proposed family festival that sparked fears of crime and the impact on grieving swans is moving away from Liverpool.

Organisers of the Far Away Land festival event, scheduled to take place in Princes Park, Toxteth, next month, have confirmed it will now be staged in Southport.

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A licensing application for the three-day event had been lodged with Liverpool Council with a hearing expected to take place on Monday, which will now no longer go ahead.

The organisers had sought to secure a licence to sell alcohol, perform live music and stage a wrestling match as part of the family event at the popular L8 park.

Princes Park in L8. Image: Google

The events are staged across the whole day in what the Far Away Land promoters describe as “fantastical family fun”.

The event will feature performers from CBBC and will work with charity Autism In Motion who will be hosting a calm and sensory zone for children with additional needs.

Oppostion from local residents

However, a dozen residents had sent their objections to Liverpool Council about the staging of the festival at Princes Park, with one claiming the sale “of alcohol in a park will lead to a huge amount of disorderly behaviour, and crime.”

It was also claimed that the granting of a licence for the event would impact the wildlife that resides at Princes Park: “It’s breeding season and our male swan is recently bereaved and grieving his dead female partner.“Our baby goslings and baby coots and ducks need a peaceful environment. not wrestling and boxing bouts.”

A protective male swan. Image: Stephen - stock.adobe.com

No objections were made to the event by either Merseyside Police, environmental health or the licensing authority.

Reaction from festival organisers

On the event’s Facebook page, the organisers wrote: “Since we first announced tickets to Far Away Land at Princes Park, we have faced so much opposition from local residents and councillors in the area. I personally have received a number of abusive direct messages.

“Multiple objections were made to our licence, and as such a hearing was due to be held TWO DAYS before the event was due to start. By that point, most people would have made travel arrangements, bought train tickets etc – it wouldn’t be fair for us to have the event pulled so close to the actual weekend.”

The organisers described their new location as the “family capital of Merseyside” and have resolved to reduce ticket prices to mitigate the sudden change of venue.

The post added: “We did not want to move the event, we were left with a choice between moving it or cancelling it entirely – and after working for two years on this line up, I really did not want to cancel it.”

The Far Away Land festival will now take place in Victoria Park, Southport, on Saturday July 2 and Sunday July 3, subject to Sefton Council’s own licensing panel agreeing to terms.

Victoria Park regularly holds large events, such as the Southport Food Festival and the Southport Flower Show.

A date for a hearing with the local authority has yet to be confirmed.