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The Newark Advertiser found out what events people would like to see prioritised as Newark Town Council to decide the future of Newark on Sea urban beach and Newark Festival after Towns Fund Cultural Heart and Arts Council grant funding was unsuccessful

In its weekly voxpop, the Advertiser found out which event people would rather save – Newark Festival or Newark-on-Sea?

At a meeting this week, Newark Town Council’s finance and general purposes committee discussed the future of the town’s popular events after bids for funding were unsuccessful.

The popular beach in Market Place was not included in the town council’s budget as they were still awaiting confirmation of Arts Council funding for a further two years.

Newark Festival has been supported by Towns Fund Cultural Heart funding and Arts Council grant funding for the past two years, which will not be available in the coming financial years.

The lack of funds to run both events has led town councillors to consider prioritising one of the events.

Liz Cunningham said: “I don’t use either but I think it is a good thing for Newark to have. We know money is tight in every aspect but if they can find the funds to have both that would be great.

“I think it is the youngsters that you want to attract, older people can travel to festivals elsewhere if they want to so definitely go for the beach for the young ones.

“I know when I was mum of young ones, I would’ve been appreciative of having a beach like this rather than getting into the car and driving for hours to get to the seaside.”

Sue Robinson said: “It is a difficult one. The children like the beach. Personally, I would enjoy the festival more but I think it was when covid hit that there were supposed to be a lot of 80s bands but then it was cancelled and they never came back.

“I never got the money back from my tickets either so it was all a bit of a mess so to be honest I have gone off the festival but I do like live music, it cheers people up and they have nice food and drinks stalls.

“So if I had to choose I’d say save the 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.

“I think it is a good thing, the beach gets the children to do things that some of them can’t get to, it is nice for them to be able to have a good time and give their mothers a rest, sit down and watch them,” said Joan Hartman.

She added: “I would rather have the beach than the festival, it would be better to have both but if you have to choose I choose the beach for the children.”

Christine Kellar said: “I don’t think that is the right idea. It is such an addition to the town to have the festival, whilst the beach has only been there for what? Two, or three years?

“The festival has been there for longer so I think that is anything they should cancel the beach.”

Jill Clements said: “I think the festival is too expensive and there was a lot of trouble there the last time we went. I think save the beach and bring things for the families for them to enjoy because it is free as well.”

Alan Smith said: “If I could choose I would choose to save the beach because I love children.

“I think it is a great idea and it does get used a fair amount.

His wife, Margaret Smith added: “A lot of people come to the festival and a long long time ago it used to be free.”

Gaye Carpenter said: “It would be ideal to have both but I don’t really partake on the beach and I really don’t get involved in the festival but I think on the whole save the festival.

“But it is not ideal because the children love the beach and it brings people into the town centre so I think on a shell if I had to choose between one or the other it would be the festival.”

Newark Town Council deferred a decision until the town’s Arts, Events, Culture and Twinning working group had drawn up more detailed plans.

The Advertiser now ask its readers – What would you prefer to see prioritised? Newark-on-Sea or Newark Festival?

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