Entry fee and safety fencing could be only way for Goose Fair to go ahead
Organisers of Nottingham’s annual Goose Fair say the event could be cancelled again if people are unwilling to pay an entrance fee or accept extra safeguards in place as a result of the Covid pandemic.
Proposals to charge for entry to the 800-year-old event for the first time have been met with strong opposition from the public.
But Nottingham City Council says the charge would go towards fencing off the site which it would have to do if the Government decides vaccine passports are needed for large events such as the fair.
Coun Eunice Campbell-Clark, the council’s portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: “No firm decisions have been taken yet about this year’s Goose Fair but in our planning for the event we are currently considering some options.
“We are looking at the feasibility of how Goose Fair could be staged if the Government was to introduce Covid passports as a requirement for entry to large events of more than 20,000 people.
"Any decision would be taken jointly with the Showmen’s Guild, but would of course be subject to any Government legislation on Covid passports in the first instance.
“In addition, following a request from the Showmen’s Guild to consider the possibility of extending a future Goose Fair to a ten-day event, we are scoping out the feasibility of this.
“We expect to have reached a decision on both these considerations by the end of August.”
The Government announced proposals earlier this year for people to be required to show domestic vaccine passports as proof of vaccination for entry into large-scale events such as football matches, concerts or events like the Goose Fair.
However, the plans remain in ice amid growing opposition, not least from backbench Tory MPs who claim the scheme infringes people’s civil liberties.
A council spokesman said: “We want to be clear that fencing off the Goose Fair site and charging an entrance fee is the last thing we want to do.
"However, it’s right that we consider all possible options during a pandemic to ensure that events can go ahead safely and within any prevailing Government guidelines.
"We’re keen to find a way to make sure that Goose Fair does go ahead this year after the disappointment of last year and are in constructive dialogue with the showmen to try to make that happen.
"The alternative – if vaccine passports are required for events of this size – may be to cancel it again, which we really don’t want to do.
“The aim of a fee is not to control numbers.
"The only purpose of a fee would be to cover the costs of a fence and significant additional crowd management costs which would be one way of ensuring vaccine passport checks could be carried out, if the Government introduces them for large events like Goose Fair.
"Fencing off a massive site like this would be difficult and expensive and was only being suggested in these specific circumstances.
"There was never a prospect of this or fees becoming an ongoing feature of Goose Fair.”