DOGS have been banned from a popular free music festival in Cirencester this summer.

Organisers of The Phoenix Festival - which will take place in Abbey Grounds Park, Cirencester on August 26 and 27 - have banned dogs or any other animals (apart from registered guide or assistance dogs) from the festival site this year.

In a statement on The Phoenix Festival Facebook page organisers said: "We understand that this may be unpopular but we have decided not to allow any animals into the festival site this year, with the exception of registered guide or assistance dogs.

"We are sorry and this may be problematic for some but we feel that a music festival with thousands of visitors is not really the best environment for your lovable furry friends to be in.

"We really hope you understand as  our volunteers already have a lot to do to keep everyone safe."

This controversial decision has sparked outrage amongst some Cirencester residents who have threatened to boycott the festival.

One commented on the post saying: "Our current dog loves people and is completely oblivious to noise and large scale distractions. 

"My point is that every dog is different.

"Responsibility sits with dog parents and a blanket ban goes against the inclusive nature of what, to date, has been a local festival for local people to be celebrated. 

"Cirencester prides itself on being the most dog friendly town in the UK, this decision, without supporting context, appears to be misaligned with these values."

In contrast, many other dog owners have commended the ban as a sensible decision.

One commented: "As a dog owner I completely support this decision. 

"Even the most relaxed dog will be on heightened alert and more stressed in this setting. 

"Personally I’d never entertain the idea of taking our dogs."

The Phoenix Festival is a volunteer community music and arts festival that offers two days of music, dance and family fun.

It is run by unpaid volunteers from Cirencester and the surrounding villages.

The festival site will be open between 11am - 10pm on the last weekend of August.