A future for Wimborne Folk Festival?

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By NewsPipe | Thursday, August 23, 2012, 20:24

The popular Wimborne Folk Festival isn't quite dead yet, but it seems no one wants to pay for it.

First the organisers annoucned they were calling it quits, citing a lack of funding. They were also frustrated with exploitative 'fringe' events that wanted to share in the increased profits that the attraction generated but not help support the organisation of the event itself.

Today East Dorset District Council has put out a request for volunteers to take over the organisation of the event so that it can continue in the future.

The District Council's Lead Member for Communities, Cllr Barbara Manuel, said: "The previous committee carried out sterling work to put on the Festival every year. We hope that we will be able to find interested people to take the Festival forward. The Council will maintain its 2012 funding for the event into 2013 and will work with interested parties who come forward with a viable bid."

What do you think? Should the council be putting more money into events like the Folk Festival, or is the responsibility of local businesses to support attractions that boost their profits?

      

Comments

       
  • Profile image for JohnNorfolk

    Its a great shame that people are talking about profits.
    As a musician who has visited this festival for most of the last thirty (yes - thirty) years I regard the Wimborne Folk Festival as a community event. Just look at the turnout of local charities running stalls and sideshows in the streets on the Sunday of each Festival!
    And consider too the enormous amount of work out in by local volunteers who enjoy (yes enjoy!) providing refreshments at the local churches, British Legion Club etc. Such activities are a vital part of both their social and fund raising activities each year.
    If there is a downside anywhere I consider it is the unfortunate appearance of non folk music related entertainers who appear to find some Wimborne pubs prepared to host them. The overly loud amplified rock music jars with the general ambience of folk music, singing and Morris Dancing. I am thinking of those occasions when my visit to the Priests House Museum for a few minutes quiet reflection in their garden is spoiled by amplified music nearby. This is outside the control of the hard working Festival organisers and contributes nothing to the Festival's budget.
    I do very much hope that the Folk Festival can be rescued - the musicians and dancers of the many Morris sides I know so well have looked forward to our annual visits to Wimborne. Not just to meet up as an annual reunion but also to revisit the Wimborne friends we have made over many years - I am thinking particularly of the lovely people at your Methodist Church who work so hard to provide Festival hospitality - and to generate funds for their worthy causes.

    By JohnNorfolk at 22:19 on 02/09/12

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  • Profile image for MrBobBobly

    WimborneBID: Dear Mr Tidd, what utter rot! The Folk Festival IS a family event. Were you not there to see the hundreds of men, women and children line the streets for the parade on the Saturday? What about the children's entertainment at the Allendale Centre, did you miss that too?

    And where were the majority of businesses? Closed as usual I see. If they don't open when the town is teeming with families how can they possibly hope to make any money? And they have the same chance to have a stall on the Sunday market as everyone else does, but most again choose not to, or open their shops when the town is full of people hunting for a bargain. Is that the fault of the previous organisers? I think not. More the fault of narrow minded business owners me thinks.

    And what has Wimborne BID done for us so far besides the idiotic suggestion of changing the name of Wimborne Square? Are you going to try and claim credit for the Square revamp as well?

    I for one hope the format doesn't change. Yes there is the odd bit of trouble now and then, but with 30,000 people passing through the town over a weekend it's inevitable. It has always been a well planned and executed event, but I worry it will go downhill from here on in.

    Thanks to the previous festival organisers the festival has grown over the years, so that we now see almost 30,000 people in our town over a weekend in June and yet you say many businesses see a drop in turnover when it's on. If this is true then quite frankly they deserve to go out of business. Perhaps it's not a case of the Folk Festival changing, but of businesses adapting so they don't lose out. Maybe you could earn your wage by ringing them all up and suggesting this?

    By MrBobBobly at 18:46 on 29/08/12

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  • Profile image for WimborneBID

    Wimborne BID Press release

    21st August 2012

    It is with regret we learn that the organisers of Wimborne Folk Festival have decided to retire. We wish them well and thank them for the work they have done over the past years.

    However, we are disappointed that they have adopted such a public way to announce their retirement and to blame the Wimborne BID, Chamber of Trade and businesses for their decision.

    Just because they have decided not to carry on with the festival themselves does not mean it will not take place. Since the letter to the Chief Executive of EDDC was made public, directors of the BID and officers of the Chamber of Trade have had many telephone calls offering to run the event. A meeting of interested parties will be organised to ensure that a folk festival in some form will take place. However, it is likely that the format will change and businesses will have a greater say as to how it will be organised in order to benefit the whole town - not just the pubs and traders from outside the town.

    We did meet with the organisers and discuss helping them but the overwhelming feeling of traders we spoke to was that, in its present form, it was a deterrent to their customers going into their businesses when the folk festival was on.

    The folk festival is an attraction for the town but some of the problems that accompany it are not. To say that losing it will be an economic disaster to the town is not true. If it is organised as a family orientated event that encourages people to the town, then the pubs, cafes and restaurants will benefit from such an event. Over the last few years many of the businesses tolerated the festival seeing that it had a beneficial marketing effect promoting the town even though, on the festival weekend, their businesses saw a drop in turnover and their regular customers avoided the town.

    You have only to recall the opening of Wimborne Square on the Jubilee weekend. When entertainment was organised the food and drink outlets did very well. And without the need for outside catering vans, local businesses that pay their business rates benefited from the event.

    With the retirement of the Wild's and Bisp's there will be new organisers who will no doubt bring fresh ideas to make a folk or music festival a regular event in Wimborne. We wish Linda, Les, Maria and Brian all the best and look forward to them visiting Wimborne next year to the new event.

    Martin Tidd
    Director

    By WimborneBID at 21:23 on 28/08/12

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  • Profile image for MrBobBobly

    Businesses should support the Folk Festival and other attractions with financial help, because they make such huge profits from it and quite frankly it's disgusting and greedy of them if they don't.

    When the White Hart was up for sale a while back a friend of mine was looking at it and had a gander at the books. On Folk Festival weekends they made close to £40,000 each year. There are huge profits to be lost if the festival doesn't go ahead in the future. It's in businesses interests to contribute to keep the festival going.

    Perhaps it would help if EDDC decided to only grant extended licensing if the businesses donate to the running costs of the festival. If you hit them where it hurts they'll soon put there hands in their pockets.

    If each business donated between £500 - £1000 each, there wouldn't be a problem. They would continue to make profits and the festival would continue to flourish.

    By MrBobBobly at 10:08 on 24/08/12

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