Echt Show alcohol licence approved

Echt Show will take place on the weekend of July 12-14
Echt Show will take place on the weekend of July 12-14

A popular Aberdeenshire agricultural show, which attracts around 5,000 visitors each year, has been granted its drinks licence after an objection was made.

The 166th Echt Show is being held on the weekend of July 12-14 and will feature a live performance on the Friday night by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

Show organisers – Echt, Skene and Midmar Agricultural Association – wanted to serve alcohol from 9.30pm till midnight on Friday, July 12, and from 11am on Saturday morning until 1am on the Sunday morning.

But a late objection was lodged against the event’s occasional licence application.

Members of Aberdeenshire Central Licensing Board debated the issue at their meeting which was held last Wednesday.

Although the objection was not made public during the hearing, it is understood to have related to issues surrounding incidents at last year’s show.

Ian Still, of the Echt Show, said: “We recognise there have been some issues with youths under 18 misbehaving over the last two years and we’re endeavouring to make changes by working with the local authorities.”

But he stressed that alcohol revenue played an “integral part” towards recovering the £130,000 cost of staging the well-supported event.

Of the show itself, Mr Still explained: “We are always open to new events and a variety of stalls to attract families – old and young alike – where they can come and have fun, be educated in the ways of country life, to see and touch animals and be able to eat and drink throughout the day.”

But he felt that a condition sought by the licensing standards team and Police Scotland to close the bar for a full hour before the evening dance to ensure there were no under 18s present was “unreasonable” and could put people off returning for the night-time attraction.

Instead his proposal to close the bar in sections to enable cleaning and clearing of the area for the over-18s only event was accepted by the board.

It also welcomed an assurance that access to the marquee would only be given to patrons after the purchase of a ticket from the ticket office where all customers will be asked for identification.

The show has also reduced the capacity for the evening event to 900, increased security measures, and will provide a taxi rank and lay on two buses to take customers away from the showground quickly to stop people lingering around the main street.