Oban Live ‘in jeopardy’ with loss of blaise pitch
ORGANISERS have raised fears for the future of the Oban Live festival because of pending changes at Mossfield Stadium due to the new high school.
The Oban Live music festival, which held its first event at Mossfield this year, brought 10,000 visitors and £2million to the town on a non-holiday weekend, and tickets for next year’s event, to be held on June 2 and 3, are due to go on sale soon.
But Neil Mackay, joint event director of Oban Live, told a joint surgery of local area councillors in the Corran Halls on November 2 that Oban Live was ‘ in jeopardy’ because the nearby blaise pitch is due to be grassed over for a games field.
‘If we do not have the blaise pitch and the car parking, the event is in jeopardy,’ Mr Mackay said. ‘Surely there is another site? The solution has to come very shortly. We have national and local partnerships ready to go. What a tragedy if we have to cancel this.’
Speaking to The Oban Times, he explained: ‘ We are finalising the headliners. It’s all in jeopardy if we do not have the blaise pitch. It will be impossible to run it. We need parking because we have 6,000 folk and heavy vehicles with equipment.’
Councillor Roddy McCuish said: ‘I see Mossfield developing as a hub for events, rather than just a football or shinty pitch used every couple of weeks. The last thing I want is for Oban Live to be cancelled.’
Councillor Elaine Robertson said if the high school could not use the blaise pitch, somewhere else would have to be found for pupils to play.
She said: ‘The high school has to go forward having sufficient playing fields. It is absolutely part of the remit.’
Naomi Hoolahan, Oban Live’s head event director, said: ‘Oban Live has requested information on the removal of the red blaise surface from councillors and Argyll and Bute Council. We are waiting for a response. Once we have this information, our event team will look at how and if this will impact plans for Oban Live 2017.
‘It is a huge operational challenge to make Mossfield and the surrounding area safe and accessible for major events. The red blaise surface is essential not only to the Oban Live event but also to other key events held at the stadium where parking and access are already very limited, especially for those with mobility requirements.
‘Investment in any community asset is a great thing for the town and we hope that the investment in Mossfield will upgrade the current facilities and increase the use of the stadium for events of all kinds. The team are very excited about Oban Live 2017.’
Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘We are investing more than £ 30 million to create a fantastic new high school. As part of the agreed design, the blaise sports pitch is being replaced with a new grass pitch, which will meet the needs of high school and community users. These agreed plans have been informed by a public consultation, and planning permission was granted on the basis that a grass pitch would be installed.’
Other events which use Mossfield and its blaise pitch for parking have also voiced concerns.
The Camanachd Association’s Torquil Macleod said: ‘Mossfield provides an excellent venue for major shinty events, attracting thousands of spectators. As with any major event, car parking is a significant concern. The Camanachd Cup final requires space for approximately 400 vehicles. The last two Camanachd Cup finals in Oban have been compromised by the lack of available parking at the stadium due to double-booking of the blaise pitch, reducing vehicle capacity to around 100.’
Crowds flocked to Oban Live in May this year but the hugely popular festival is now at risk.