A planned open-air dance music festival in rural Herefordshire in just two weeks’ time is in doubt following widespread local opposition.

GemFest 2024 at Great Howle Farm, Howle Hill south of Ross-On-Wye is due to run from Friday June 14 to the following Sunday.

A shuttle bus service is planned between the site and Hereford and Gloucester railway stations. Weekend camping tickets priced £80 are still being sold online.


Its organisers, an offshoot of Welsh dance music label PullUp Recordings, have applied for an occasional premises licence enabling it to serve alcohol and play recorded music outdoors until 3am on the Friday and Saturday nights.

Consultation on this drew 15 public objections deemed relevant in licensing terms, along with a further 12 which were rejected by Herefordshire Council officials.

“Previous events at this site have caused considerable disturbance, noise nuisance (and) helicopter traffic,” according to one local resident, their details redacted as with all public licensing responses.

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“The noise over two days and nights will cause distress to my animals [and] impede access to my elderly friends,” they added.

One resident said the drum & bass genre is “recognised as one of the most invasive as far as music noise pollution is concerned”.

“It does seem unreasonable that this will continue until 3am on two consecutive nights,” another nearby resident said.


Yet another was “concerned regarding the increase in traffic on our very small, pothole-ridden local lanes”, while the area was described by one as “rich with wildlife that will be terrified by the noise and light of the festival”.

But apart from conditions put forward by council trading standards officers which have been agreed to, “no further representations from the responsible authorities (which include West Mercia Police and Environmental Protection  who deal with noise nuisance) were received”, the council said.

Nonetheless, given the strength of public feeling, the application has been passed to the council’s licensing subcommittee of councillors to decide a week today (Friday June 7).