A weekend of rain and mud may not have dampened spirits at This That and Live at the Foreshore, but damage to the Wickham Park venue after the festivals has left the local junior cricket club without a home field.
The Hamilton-Wickham Colts face longer travel time and extended commitments on weekends which Nicky Thomson, mother of Hamwicks junior Angelo Iosif, has said is “quite shocking”.
“I’m all for music festivals, but there needs to be a contingency plan,” Ms Thomson said. “The joy of a home game is that it’s close to home and people that live in the area can come and see games. We’ve had that taken away from us.”
Most of the damage occurred after the weekend of November 4-5, when This That and Live at the Foreshore were held at Wickham Oval.
Over the festivals’ weekend, the Wickham area had 16.2mm of rainfall, which left fields soft and damp as maintenance crews removed stages, festival facilities and portaloos.
Hamilton-Wickham Colts’ manager, Jillian Dwyer, said the damage to the fields was not only “entirely disappointing”, but told Fairfax Media the club was only notified the grounds would be unusable until November 8.
“I’m extremely disappointed. There was no notification at all for the grounds being like this,” Ms Dwyer said. “It would have been quite easy for council to tell them to wait a week.”
Hamilton-Wickham colts have been left without a home field and training area for weeks after extensive damage to their ovals, Thomas Armstong and Hawkins. Both fields unplayable, and may not return to similar pre-season condition. pic.twitter.com/wAZijezP50— Isaac McIntyre (@isaac_mcintyre6) November 12, 2017
A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council has confirmed the oval will be out of action for a number of weeks.
“Damage was sustained to the playing surface at the Thomas Armstrong and Hawkins Oval as a result of the recent This That Festival hosted on the grounds,” the spokesperson said. “Part of the responsibilities of event organisers is to make sure any council spaces they use are returned to us in the same condition as before the event.”
“In this case, This That Festival has accepted responsibility for the damages and will be paying for restoration of the playing surface. As this work will take two to three weeks to complete, council has contacted sporting clubs that use the facilities and will work with them to find suitable alternate venues.”
This That were approached for comment, but did not respond in time for deadline.
Hamilton-Wickham Colts will be training at the Johnson Park and Smith Park nets while restorations of the ovals are underway.