A boycott campaign which called on Christians to stay away from the Greenbelt arts festival in protest at the decision to invite gay and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell to speak, has failed, and ticket sales are up.

Earlier this year, Doctor Lisa Nolland said on the Anglican Mainstream website that inviting Mr Tatchell to Greenbelt would put children at risk of sexual abuse.

The endevour has had the opposite effect, and ticket sales to the festival, which is to be held in Cheltenham this weekend, have reportedly been boosted.

At the time of Dr Nolland’s post, Mr Tatchell – who has been warmly received by religious audiences at Greenbelt before – said: “My Greenbelt talks are not about teen sexuality, sex education or the age of consent. They are about vegetarianism, animal liberation, environmental protection and the persecution of gay people in Africa.

“Homophobic oppression in many parts of Africa is being orchestrated by Christian evangelicals, especially in countries like Uganda, Malawi and Nigeria. They share Anglican Mainstream’s harsh, fundamentalist interpretation of scripture.”

Last week however, Dr Nolland posted another series of articles on the Anglican Mainstream website entitled “How Well Do You Know the Real Peter Tatchell?”

Mr Tatchell said: “I would like to thank Anglican Mainstream for helping encourage extra interest in Greenbelt; resulting in more people now planning to attend this year’s festival because of the controversy and publicity over my invitation.”

He added: “I’m looking forward to meeting the many Christians who are actively involved in campaigns for human rights, equality, democracy and social justice. We have more in common than divides us.”