AMBITIOUS plans to create a 'mini-Glastonbury Festival' to boost the traditional Crewe and Nantwich Carnival have been welcomed by the borough council.

Steve Kenyon, a former music promoter who lives in Crewe, has spoken to Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council about his ideas for 'PeaceFest' - a summer festival akin to the Somerset extravaganza but on a smaller scale.

More than 100,000 people flocked to last month's Glastonbury Festival, which was headlined by bands such as Oasis, Muse and former Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney.

Mr Kenyon, who lives in Wheelman Road, sees Queen's Park as the perfect venue for a similar line-up of local bands, learning workshops and thousands of overnight campers.

Carnival organisers were stunned earlier this month when Cheshire police hit them with a £7,000 bill for an event they had traditionally policed for free, forcing them to draft in emergency funds to ensure this year's carnival goes ahead as planned.

Mr Kenyon says a paid event would solve the funding problems, and could be called PeaceFest to promote an image of wholesome, family fun.

He said: 'Crewe has such great potential for this kind of festival. Fifty thousand people came to last year's carnival and it is one of the biggest events in the North West.

'However, with a bit of planning it could be so much more. There is no reason why the council should have a crisis over paying for policing, when the public would be happy to pay a small amount for a much more exciting carnival, with live bands, overnight camping and much more activities.'

Mr Kenyon, 41, whose experience includes helping to organise the Guil-Fest event in Surrey - which now attracts 45,000 paying visitors each year - says the festival would be the perfect way for Crewe to push its image as a centre of entertainment in the region.

He added: 'The festival would be called PeaceFest, to send out a message to the troublemakers that they are not welcome.

'So much is going on in Crewe at the moment, with the cinema and entertainment complex at Eaton Street being built, and a festival would be a great way to put the town on the map.'

Council bosses have welcomed the proposal, and say the police bill has forced them look at the format and the funding of the carnival for next year.

Carnival co-ordinator Andrew Lath-am said: 'We welcome any suggestions from local people about the carnival, and have asked Mr Kenyon to put his ideas down on paper.

'It would be nice to see the plans in operational terms, as it sounds like quite a big event.'

Mr Kenyon is drafting a business plan and appealing to businesses for help with sponsoring and organising the proposed festival.

What's your verdict? You can write to us at 2 High Street, Crewe CW2 7BY, fax us on 01270 256760 or e-mail us at

Chiefs agree to fund carnival police bill

COUNCIL chiefs have voted to cough up funds for a £7,000 police bill, ensuring that this year's Crewe Carnival goes ahead as planned.

However, organisers criticised police for issuing the bill so late in the day and announced plans for an advisory group to come up with ideas for carnivals.

There were fears the unexpected bill from Cheshire Police, coupled with a £3,000 charge for extra stewarding, would scupper preparations for this year's event, which will be held on August 28 and 29.

Councillors met on Thursday and agreed the funding shortfall had to be met with other council funds.

Cllr Howard Curran, portfolio holder for local activities, said: 'It was agreed that we have to find this money from somewhere, because at this late stage we have no alternative.

'It is very disappointing that we had to find this money in the first place, and it is certainly something that we cannot do every year.'

Cllr Curran is worried that the £7,000 bill is only the tip of the iceberg, and that other events in the area will face a similar bill for policing.

He said: 'I am concerned that charging for the carnival is just the thin end of the wedge. Will we face a similar last-minute bill for Holly Holy Day, or for the Folk and Roots Festival in Nantwich?

'We have managed to find the extra £10,000 this time but this money has not come from nowhere. It's £10,000 less we have to spend on something else.'

Cllr Curran says that he is open to suggestions for next year's carnival, and plans to set up an advisory group with local residents to ensure that people get a say in the funding and format of future events.

'It's not the council's carnival, it's the people's, and I would welcome any suggestions that would raise the profile of the event. Maybe there is room for a festival like Mr Kenyon suggests, but we need to set up an advisory group to see how people feel about paying money for the carnival.'