The three-day music festival Welcome To The Village will not take place this year at the intended location in the Groene Ster nature and recreation area near Leeuwarden. The festival organization announced this on Wednesday after consultation with the municipality. The decision follows the decision of the court in Groningen a day earlier to withdraw the permit for the festival. According to action group Groene Ster, the event would cause nature damage. The festival was scheduled for Friday, July 16 to Sunday, July 18.
On Tuesday, the court in Groningen ruled in the case brought by the action group. He demanded that the municipality of Leeuwarden would withdraw the temporary environmental permit, which had been granted for organizing the festival with a reduced number of visitors, because it had been wrongly granted faster. The action group argues that major events such as festivals cause “irreparable damage” to both the breeding bird population and that of the common bat-eared bat in the area. Ultimately, the preliminary relief judge decided to suspend the issued permit for six weeks pending a decision on proceedings on the merits against the permit that had also been initiated.
The festival organization says it is surprised by the verdict. “We never saw this decision coming,” festival organizer Eva van Netten wrote in a statement. “We were angry and sad, but the tears have dried and the anger has turned into militancy and energy. We have worked too hard with a large group of people to throw in the towel.” In the meantime, another attempt is made to find an alternative location. “The organization is considering and investigating all possibilities.” Visitors who have bought a ticket will be informed by e-mail.