Council looks into ‘alternative ideas’ after Fake Festival scrapped

A CONTROVERSIAL decision from Gainsborough Town Council that led to next year’s Fake Festival not going ahead has led to them now considering an alternative event.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 31st October 2011, 2:30 pm

The summer event attracted more than 600 people who enjoyed a day of entertainment featuring top tribute bands as well as local acts.

A number of Gainsborough Town councillors recently argued that with festival attendance expected to double next year, a fee of £1,000 should be charged to Fake Festivals to lease out Roses Sports Ground, but the events company said they have a flat fee of £300 which they offer to all venues - at which point negotiations broke down and next year’s event was scrapped.

The decision caused a great deal of uproar and disappointment from many local residents, while others argued that the Town Council was right to work towards having a firmer grip on its finances.

Former town councillor John Ridley spoke in defence of the council, arguing that the Fake Festival may see significant income and that the council should share in some of the profits.

“Any monies received by the Town Council would go towards reducing the amount of council tax which the public would have to find,” he said.

He added: “Also, why don’t the local bands and those are disappointed at the loss of the festival approach the town council with a request to organise and hold their own festival and split the profits?”

However, when the Standard asked Fake Festivals managing director Jez Lee about sharing profits with the council and negotiating on their £1,000 fee request, he said this was not financially possible.

“The Gainsborough Fake Festival simply did not make a profit this summer,” he said. “Therefore we couldn’t send any profits towards the council - let alone meet the raised rental fee of £1,000.”

“These festivals take a few years to turn into profit. We have to build a reputation locally and hope that it grows and turns into a profitable event, but the town council have just taken the foundations away.”

He added: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to the Gainsborough people that did come along and make this year’s Fake Festival so great, but the council have made it impossible for us to return.”

Town Councillor Norman Dinsdale lectures in Hospitality Management at Sheffield Hallam University and believes that the council’s request for a higher rate was reasonable.

“The £300 offer is way off target,” he said. “We wanted to negotiate and there were other opportunities that had not been explored but our overture was turned down flat.”

But now, Coun Dinsdale says that he is keen for the town to have an alternative festival or event in the summer instead.

“I firmly believe that we should have a festival - I really enjoyed them, but not if we’re going to be bent over a barrel like that.”

He continued: “I’m going to suggest to the council that we put on an alternative festival with a different supplier on reasonable terms - it’s what the town deserves.”

Coun Trevor Young agreed: “Over the last three to four years, council tax has increased by 30 to 40 per cent, and now we are trying to level that out with more sound financial management and governance.”

“The costs of mantaining our facilities over the year are very significant and people want good value for money from their council, and now there’s the opportunity to look at other routes of attracting people to Gainsborough and have a discussion with the general public about an event that’s fair and reasonable.”

Coun Young added: “We would definitely welcome any ideas or suggestions for a new event or festival with local talent or from a different provider.”

However, singer and guitarist from local band Stereoepic Graeme Chappelow said: “A new festival would be a great idea, but that doesn’t defeat the object that they had a great festival going that everybody loved at no cost to them, and they’ve wound everybody up by cancelling it by being greedy.”

“I would really like to see a new music festival, as shows in the town are always really busy and it will only be good for Gainsborough.”