Comedy and podcast event at Manchester venue given green light- despite concern from police

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The event will go ahead- despite concerns from Greater Manchester police

A podcast and comedy event featuring ‘the best of the North-West’ is due to go ahead in Manchester this summer – despite concerns from police. 

Managers at Didsbury Sports Ground were granted a temporary event licence for ‘Dead Meet’ after a grilling by councillors and Greater Manchester Police this morning (April 15). The 12-hour festival taking place on June 22 initially sparked concerns over noise, parking and ‘public urination’. 

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A GMP report argued more visitors than the maximum 500 guests would turn up, causing a “disturbance” to local residents. The backlash was sparked by similar fears over an application for a beer festival at the venue featuring Hacienda legend Graeme Park, which was refused last week. 

Clive Szmit, the director of the sports grounds, claimed he had “learnt a lot” through the failed application about “how much information was needed” and “how to engage with the community”. He brought along letters of support from local residents. 

One resident of Fordbank Road wrote: “We regard these things as essential to maintain a community spirit at this end of Didsbury.” 

The organisers claimed they had put in a lot of work to address the fears raised in the GMP report. Plans included strict ticketing, an Uber-friendly pick-up system and the first-ever attempt at using silent disco headphones at a comedy show, allowing visitors to “tune into different stages” and keep noise down after 10pm. 

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This time, GMP representative Alan Isherwood said ‘most of his fears had been allayed’ before the meeting through contact with Mr Szmit and that they expected a “completely different audience” to the beer festival.  

PC Isherwood said: “With the nature of what this event is, albeit people will obviously be consuming alcohol, I think the general demeanour of a crowd attending a comedy event is very different to a crowd attending a three-day music festival. 

Didsbury Sports GroundDidsbury Sports Ground
Didsbury Sports Ground

“It could still generate problems but the anticipated level of disturbance is significantly less than previously thought.”

Even so, the committee raised concerns over parking. The event – featuring acts such as Andrew Maxwell, Jamie Hutchinson and Dan Nightingale – is intended to be a ‘no car’ event (except for blue badge holders), with punters advised to take public transport to the site. 

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But councillors were not entirely convinced that the organisers would be able to stop people from coming in and parking their cars on surrounding streets – especially as the event was due to run until 1am while trams stop at midnight. 

They granted the licence with strict conditions, including an earlier finish time (12am) and clear sign-posting about public transport schedules within the venue. 

Speaking of the event, fellow organiser Rob Mulholland from the Dead Men Talking podcast said: “Manchester has become the centre of comedy in the UK at the moment, and we’re trying to celebrate that. It’s just going to be a dead good laugh.” 

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