Fee for festival?

Acoustic Gathering in Peasholm Park
Acoustic Gathering in Peasholm Park
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MUSIC fans could have to pay for what has previously been a free festival after vital funding was withdrawn.

Organisers of this year’s Acoustic Gathering festival are in crunch talks with Scarborough Council to try and forge a way forward and keep it going.

Local businessman Steve Dickinson, one of the organisers, said the cut in funding had come as a blow and there was a possibility that they may have to start charging an entry fee.

He added that he refused to become disheartened by the news and said: “We are currently investigating how we can continue to put on a brilliant festival.

“We understand why the council needs to cut its spending; it wouldn’t be right to continue funding what is, in essence, a party for the people of Scarborough at the same time as cutting back essential services.”

The event in Peasholm Park has been organised for the past six years and it is understood that organisers are also in discussion with the police and local events co-ordinators following a few incidents of disorder at last year’s event.

A number of festival goers had reported a tense atmosphere and Mr Dickinson said that it was believed that the root cause of which was a minority of people abusing the bring your own policy that the festival had previously taken towards alcohol.

He added: “The police are actively encouraging the organisers to abandon the traditional open-gates policy in favour of more controlled measures.

“We totally understand where the police are coming from. None of us were happy with the atmosphere towards the end of last year’s event. Even though everyone was pretty well behaved, it just wasn’t the relaxed, family atmosphere that we have seen in previous years and that is just not acceptable.”

And, if this year’s event does go ahead, organisers are hoping that they can provide a bar to compensate for the ban of bringing alcohol onto the site. Mr Dickinson said: “The control that this will provide will also aid in keeping the incidents of alcohol induced disruption under control.

“The cost of all these extra provisions and controls, coupled with the funding cuts, is said to be taking its toll on the festival and there have been suggestions that this year’s event may not be free.

“We have to look at every angle available to us if we want this show to continue.”