FOLK fans have threatened to abandon a long-standing festival after youths gatecrashed the campsite.
During Chester Folk Festival in Kelsall, teenagers threw hot barbecue coals at a tent, where a woman slept near to a gas bottle.
One youth was reported to have a knife and boy racers drove recklessly around a campsite during the Whit-sun Bank Holiday event.
The local police officer moved his shift to attend two days of the event but organisers of the non-profit making festival were told they would have to pay for further patrols.
Kelsall Parish Council said it was 'embarrassed' by the local teenagers' behaviour at the event, held in the village since 1979.
Parish clerk Natalie Read said:'Cars were coming on to the car park, removing their number plates so they couldn't be identified then driving as fast as they could around the field.
'Their wheels were a matter of inches from tent guy ropes - you are talking about the difference between having fun and being up for manslaughter charges.
'Kids were throwing hot barbecue coals at one poor woman's tent - she was petrified and showed me the burn marks on the tent. One had a 10in carving knife, which we found after we and the police had evicted them from the field.
'A lot of people are talking about not coming to the festival any more because this is the second year there has been trouble from Kelsall youths.
'It is really embarrassing and we have got to meet with the police and the festival organisers to sort it out before next year.'
Chairman Noel Dutton said he was grateful to Kelsall CAT officer PC Robin Fisher, who changed his shift in order to cover the festival until Saturday nightandstoppedproblems during that period. But he was disappointed a meeting with police following problems last year did not increase policing for this year.
Festival organiser Cheryl Hunt said there is no question the event will move from its present site, where several hundred people enjoyed the music this year.
She said: 'We are not moving, but there are problems that need to be addressed. I understand Kelsall has problems around that field all year round so the teenagers obviously felt we were trespassing on their territory. The rest of the festival was wonderful and lots of people were totally unaffected by the problems.'
MsHuntsaid the festival wouldfind it difficult to pay for extra police.
She added: 'It isn't the festival people who are causing these problems - we are the victims. It is a very different scenario to a football match where people attending are causing the problems.'
PC Fisher said only five incidents werereportedto the police during the weekend and, although no officers patrolled the festival after Saturday night, the control room earmarked Kelsall as a priority for 999 calls.
The parish council has pledged to meet police and festival organisers.