Music festival that four people were stabbed at last year returns to Hainault

One man who was knifed sustained life-changing injuries at the event last year. Picture: Paul Bennet

One man who was knifed sustained life-changing injuries at the event last year. Picture: Paul Bennett - Credit: Archant

A music festival where four people were stabbed last year returns to Hainault Forest Country Park this weekend.

In 2018 police were called to Garage Nation Festival, Romford Road, after a bloody brawl in the VIP area.

At the time angry residents blasted Redbridge Council for not pulling the plug on the Sunborne Festival and the Moondance Festival scheduled for the following day and criticised security for letting people with knives into the event

For this Saturday, June 29, organisers have removed the VIP area and replaced it with a "posh toilet" and more bar and food vendors.

The website says: "Following last year's sold out event, we are extremely excited to announce Garage Nation Outdoor Festival returns to the amazing Hainault Forest Country Park for the ultimate garage music summer festival.

"The picturesque location means that we can build on last year and continue to offer improved facilities further enhancing your summer festival experience.

"We have decided to remove the VIP area this year giving the site more space and allowing us to offer more improved facilities. However, there will be passes on sale for a posh toilet and paper area.

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"The bigger site also means we can offer a broader selection of quality street food vendors and improved bar facilities including more bars and bigger serving spaces on the bars."

Some well-known names from the noughties garage scene will be performing, including Artful Dodger, DJ Luck & MC Neat and Romeo and Lisa Maffia.

On Sunday, June 30, the Sunbourne and Moondance festival will be held at the same location playing rave and jungle music, UK garage, drum & bass, classic house and more.

A spokesman said: "We're building on the extra attractions this year including laser tag, garage karaoke, fairground rides, fully licensed bars, tasty hot food outlets, juice and ice cream stands, face paint stalls and more surprises to keep you entertained throughout the day."

Speaking to the Recorder, after the incident last year, council leader Jas Athwal said the stabbings involved a minority and the "15,000" other party revellers had a good time.

He also said that the security measures were thorough.

"We want residents to have a good time and we will not give in to these violent acts.

"The trouble was isolated and police gave assurances there would be more police the next day and they could manage the event the following day.

"As you can see, nothing happened and lots of people had a great time."

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