Singer who started Willow Festival petition with 8,000 signatures calls on council to bow to public opinion

Tanya Collier

Tanya Collier

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A singer who started a petition to ‘save’ the Willow Festival has called on Peterborough City Council to bow to public opinion and let it go ahead.

Tanya Collier (37) of Orton Brimbles feels the council should end its stand-off with festival organiser Mark Ringer and give the green light to the three-day music extravaganza after her petition reached 8,000 signatures.

The council has refused to allow the festival to go ahead on the Embankment from July 8 due to a row over a £4,500 payment, of which a third would be returned if the site does not need repairs following the event.

The council’s decision has caused a big stir on social media and led to a row between the authority and Mr Ringer which has seen both publish critical remarks about the other.

Tanya, lead singer with cover band The Empire, is pencilled in to belt out numbers from The Beatles to Adele on the festival’s opening evening.

And the mother of Ella-Louise (11), who is learning to play the guitar, believes the council should take notice of her petition.

She said: “It’s basically a cry out from the public. We as a public have a right to say what we want and the council should not decide for us. It feels like we are being dictated to from the council.

“At the end of the day, if the public want it they should get it.

“If you read all the forums on Facebook, people are not happy about it and are going to just turn up on the day anyway, sit in the sunshine, play music and have a big picnic.”

Tanya had heard the news on May 26 that the council would not allow the festival to go ahead on the Embankment and decided to try and sort a petition out which she originally shared with friends.

“I never thought it would be this big,” she said. “There are 3,000 signatures from the UK and the rest from abroad which is really bizarre. I’m shocked by it all.

“The thing that’s unfair is that so many people are counting on this festival. There are young musicians who really need to showcase themselves. It’s how musicians get noticed.

“And it’s a family thing. I can’t stress enough how fantastic it is that you can go as an adult and take your children to watch the bands.

“You can have a few drinks and your children can enjoy themselves. There’s stalls and face painting. It’s really disappointing that the children do not have something like that to go to.

“You see them all dancing in the sunshine to music - it’s fantastic.

“It’s a real shame the council won’t budge on the decision.”

Tanya said she has sent a link to her petition to the council - which could trigger a debate between councillors - but is waiting to hear back if it is acceptable.

Mr Ringer said he is still hopeful that the Willow Festival will go ahead on the Embankment, but has stated he has back-up options.

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Save The Willow Fest Cambs 2016

IN FULL: Peterborough City Council letter and Willow Festival organiser’s response