must not make a loss
10:45am Thu Aug 15, 2013
Newark Festival will be held again next year, but town councillors are to meet to discuss the best options for its format in the future.
This year’s event, which included a paid-for concert headlined by Madness, cost Newark Town Council £89,482 — an overspend of £19,482 on the £70,000 budget set by the council.
The town clerk, Mr Alan Mellor, told the finance and policy committee the total cost of the festival was £261,400 and the income was £172,000.
He said they had not achieved the required level of ticket sales for Madness and there had been extra costs involved because they had to pay for the hire of the Riverside Park from the district council.
He said it was the second festival to be staged and, while the number of tickets sold had increased, it had not been possible to stage the festival without a significant subsidy from the town council.
He said the current structure was based on the concept that the income from the ticketed concert was enough to meet some of the cost of two free events held on the Friday and Sunday.
Mr Mellor said: “It would now seem that this structure is unlikely to be successful. If a concert with such a high-profile band as Madness is not able to generate the income required then it is difficult to see that any other concert will achieve this financial target.”
Mr David Lloyd said there had been very positive feedback about the festival.
He was not against agreeing that it should be held again next year but felt they should be looking to see if it should be an annual event.
The chairman, Mr Kevin Clayton, felt the council should hold the festival again next year and the budget for it should remain the same at £70,000.
He called for a cross-party meeting so members could put forward ideas to take the festival forward.
Mr David Payne said he had supported the festival from day one but was concerned about the expense. He wanted more details about the sponsorship and the number of free tickets issued.
Mr Clive Whetton said there was a lot of comment about how successful the festival had been but he was concerned that it had gone over budget.
He said: “We can’t let that happen again.”
Mr Paul Baggaley said when the idea of a festival was first raised three years ago it had been decided that they wanted something that was sustainable, on regular dates and had a regular theme so it could be built on year by year.
He said: “We haven’t met any of those objectives. It is not sustainable, it has been held on different dates and there is no regular theme. There is a lot of work to do.”
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