Organisers of the Kendal Calling music festival appeared at Carlisle Crown Court today for failing to ensure the safety of people doing preparatory work at the Lowther Park site two years ago.

They all pleaded not guilty to charges brought by Eden District Council which alleged that they had failed to ensure the safety of people working at Hackthorpe, near Penrith, in the run-up to the festival in July 2010.

In court were three directors of the companies involved in running the festival.

Ben Robinson, 31, of Low Lane, Horsforth, Leeds, and Andrew Smith, 25, of The Promenade, Arnside, - both directors of Kendal Calling Limited – were charged with failing, through “consent, connivance or neglect”, to discharge their duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure that Donald Berry and others were not exposed to danger They were also charged with failing to discharge a similar duty of care under the Electricity at Work regulations.

Jason Warren Piper, 47, of Wye Street, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire was charged as a director of Piper Event Services Limited, with a similar offence of failing to ensure the safety of persons, including Mr Berry.

The two companies - Kendal Calling Limited and Piper Event Services Limited – faced separate charges.

Kendal Calling Limited were accused of two offences - failing to ensure “as far as was reasonably practicable” that people doing preparatory work on the site were not exposed to risk to their health and safety, and failing to prevent danger to people working near overhead cables.

Piper Event Services Limited who are based in Grove Lodge, Howle Hill, Ross-on-Wye, were charged with failing to conduct operations in such a way as to ensure that people were not exposed to risk.

All the defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges they faced.

Their trial will start in front of Cumbria’s top judge, Paul Batty QC, the Honorary Recorder of Carlisle, on February 25.

The prosecution is expected to call nearly 20 witnesses and the trial is likely to last for four weeks.

The three men were allowed bail but warned that they might have to go back to court for an administrative hearing before their trial.