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Newark Town Council to decide future of Newark on Sea urban beach and Newark Festival after Towns Fund Cultural Heart and Arts Council grant funding was unsuccessful

The future of some of the town’s most loved public events are in doubt after bids for funding were unsuccessful.

Newark Town Council’s finance and general purposes committee met this week to discuss proposals to scrap Newark Festival so that the popular ‘Newark on Sea’ urban beach can still go ahead.

It comes after grant funding bids by the council for both events were unsuccessful, meaning the council would have to decide which to prioritise.


The town’s Arts, Events, Culture and Twinning (AECT) working group made the recommendation that the council’s Newark Festival budget allocation of £25,000 in the 2024/25 financial year is diverted to fund the ‘Newark on Sea’ urban beach.

For the past two summers, the seaside-themed event in Newark’s Market Place has been warmly welcomed by families and visitors alike for brightening up the town centre and bringing the fun of the coast closer to home.

The beach itself was not accounted for when the council set its budget as they were still awaiting confirmation of Arts Council funding for a further two years.

A number of smaller applications have now been submitted, however, if successful these will not be enough to meet the full cost of ‘Newark on Sea’.

In the last two years Newark Festival has been supported by Towns Fund Cultural Heart funding and Arts Council grant funding, which is not available in the coming financial year.

Plans to scale down Newark Festival’s budget and deliver a smaller free music event in the town centre had already been proposed, but with the loss of grant funding it was seen as more beneficial to prioritise one event.

The Brass Explosion at Newark Festival in the grounds of Newark Castle.
The Brass Explosion at Newark Festival in the grounds of Newark Castle.

The AECT, the town clerk and council officers will meet to explore other event opportunities to mitigate the impact of the loss of Newark Festival.

It was noted that the cost of the beach was over £30,000 in 2023 and the redirected £25,000 from the Newark Festival budget allocation would not be enough to fully cover the costs, and some elements such as the entertainment around the beach may have to be scaled back.

An option to explore putting a call out for sponsors was made by councillors — local businesses may be willing to cover some of the shortfall of providing the beach entertainment in return for advertisement around the event.

Newark Town Council deferred a decision until the AECT working group had drawn up more detailed plans.

What are your thoughts? What events would you like to see prioritised? Let us know.

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