The organisers of Boardmasters have been given permission to increase the capacity of its music festival at Watergate Bay.

Vision 9 has been given the go ahead to increase the event’s capacity from 53,000 to 58,000 at the Trebelsue Farm site up to 2026, which includes ticketholders, artists and staff.

Health and safety officer Ann Marie Jameson from Cornwall Council raised concerns the emergency evacuation of the site would be compromised if the capacity was permitted to increase to 66,000 people.

She also highlighted issues about “crowd management, overcrowding of venues, venues exceeding safe capacity limits, medical and welfare facilities being overwhelmed, significant lighting failures, not maintaining segregation of vehicle and pedestrian routes on egress of site, with Blue carpark being particularly chaotic and inadequately managed” and how the festival organisers deal with the weather.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service stated it had no concerns about the proposed increase as long as exits and routes are suitably adjusted, each venue is managed to avoid overcrowding and the site is not expanded in the direction of the cliffs.

Cornwall Council’s Licensing Act Sub Committee approved the premises licence application at its meeting today. (Wednesday)

Andrew Topham, Boardmasters CEO and festival organiser said: “We’re delighted that Cornwall Council has granted us permission to expand Boardmasters to a new total capacity of 58,000 from this summer. 

“Thank you to Cornwall Council, the residents who took time to provide their valuable feedback and to all of the relevant parties who have supported us on this journey. 

“We have an incredible show lined up this year, with headliners Stormzy, Chase & Status and Sam Fender, and a wealth of music and surf talent. As always, we will continue our hard work to produce a world-class festival in Cornwall.”

Cornwall councillor Olly Monk added: “Boardmasters has run successfully for over 10 years. 

“I think organisers Vision 9 has always taken seriously any concerns about safety and security of the festival goers. 

“The event can only continue if all parties are happy with the security and safety aspects of arranging such an event. 

“I welcome the scrutiny of the Health and Safety officials from Cornwall Council and it’s up to them and the Boardmasters event team to work together and continue to ensure that we have a safe and successful celebration of music which has become one of the mainstays of the Cornish year.”