A CONTROVERSIAL music festival in the heart of rural Pendle has been shelved for at least a year.

Organisers of the Shamania Lugna-sadh festival, held in Blacko last year, confirmed they are taking a year off from the celebrations.

Instead they will focus on co-ordinating Pendle Witch Camp, a more low-key event, to be held between June 19 and 22.

But residents in Blacko are shocked amid rumours that the event will be held close to their homes again.

Last July, the four-day round-the-clock Shamania festival was held at Brown House Farm, off Gisburn Old Road. It drew concerns from residents over noise, nuisance, anti-social behaviour and litter.

The witch camp will involve a variety of alternative workshops and there will be camping provisions. Although residents are happy Shamania is being replaced with a quieter event, they still have fears over access to their homes.

Coun Shelagh Derwent said the issues were discussed at a meeting of the parish council on Wednesday.

She added: “It’s particularly bad for people who live in Gisburn Old Road, which is a single track. There are steep ditches at either side and it’s quite difficult for them to get out of their homes.

“One person said last year a delivery driver came and left because they couldn’t get down the road. Several who live in the road are complaining and are not happy about it at all.

“The ground where last year’s festival was held has still not been cleared properly.”

The Shamania festival was held at Noggarth Hill, Roughlee, in 2007. Farmers are permitted to use their land for such events for a certain amount of time each year.

Coun Derwent said this means there are “no avenues” for appeal. She added: “The big mystery is that no-one really knows where it is going to be held this year, so we can’t do anything.

Trawden-based Enlightened Entertain-ments Ltd will be organising the Pendle Witch Camp. Tickets are £23 for over-14s until the end of this month, after which they will be £30.