Morecambe Carnival boss hits out at funding delay

The crowd at Morecambe Carnival last May. Photo by Al Robbins.
The crowd at Morecambe Carnival last May. Photo by Al Robbins.
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The driving force behind Morecambe Carnival is “extremely disappointed” after a funding decision was put on hold.

David Brayshaw hit out after a Morecambe Town Council events committee overruled the findings of a semi-independent panel of advisors.

The panel backed the carnival’s bid for £10,000 but the committee wants more information before it will OK the grant.

Mr Brayshaw, chairman of Morecambe Carnival organising committee, said the panel had been “undermined”.

The town council wants more details on reasons why the £10,000 is needed, and has invited carnival organisers to a meeting with councillors on September 24.

But Mr Brayshaw, who is also on Morecambe Town Council representing Labour, said: “They have already had full accounts for the Morecambe Carnival. Either they want to support it or they don’t.

“I am extremely disappointed. The carnival is a growing event. Insurance is going up, we need more security and we need more income to support a bigger event next year. It beggars belief that a group of councillors would undermine the panel.”

Coun Tricia Heath, a member of the committee, said: “We had a lot of questions (about the carnival) and so the decision was made to get the organisers in to get answers.”

The committee also disagreed with the panel’s suggestion that £3,600 should be given to the Seaside Fiesta, again asking for more details.

The Seaside Fiesta is a world music festival run for the first time by Mr Brayshaw’s Morecambe Events Co-Operative last month.

Final decisions on grants will be made later in the year.

Morecambe Carnival has enjoyed a highly successful comeback over the past two years and pulled more than 37,000 people to town in May.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the festivals committee also recommended an £18,000 grant for next year’s Vintage-by-the-Sea event “in principle”.

This is subject to receiving full accounts and an evaluation report from organisers.

A new Fireworks Extravaganza and bonfire night on Morecambe promenade, the ‘Catch the Wind’ kite festival, Barefest and the Promenade Concert Orchestra season at The Platform are also expected to receive the money they asked for. But a new summer Children’s Festival of Creativity, most of a programme of live music events run by DJ and promoter Steve Middlesbrough, and the Tutti Frutti 1950s festival are expected to miss out completely.

A decision on the Nice ‘n’ Sleazy punk festival’s bid for £3,500 has been deferred as the committee has asked organisers to reapply due to “concerns around the current format and the apparent lack of sponsorship”.

Festival grants are awarded by Morecambe Town Council after a three-tier process.

A ‘festivals advisory panel’ made up of one town councillor from each political group and three members of the public makes recommendations to the festivals committee. The committee then suggests changes before full council makes a final decision.

The events committee who made the new recommendations was made up of four Labour councillors (Terrie Metcalfe, Josh Brandwood, Claire Cozler and Margaret Pattison) and three MBIs (Tricia Heath, Barbara Barber and Shirley Burns).

Coun Brandwood, vice-chairman of the committee, said: “I would like to reassure the general public that our decisions made on the committee aren’t to purposely to stop the great events and festivals that occur in Morecambe. Our job is to review events and scrutinise them to ensure the taxpayers get value for their money.”

The Festivals Advisory Panel who made the original recommendations is chaired by Coun Roger Dennison of the MBIs. Its other members include Coun Ian Clift (Labour), Coun Michelle Ogden (UKIP), Morecambe hotelier Jim Catterall, Vicky Lofthouse of the Lancaster & District Chamber of Commerce, and Ben Ruth, organiser of the Lancaster Music Festival.

Morecambe Town Council has budgeted £55,000 to fund festivals in 2016.

They also had £8,455 left over from last year.

The committee also agreed to spend £5,000 on a regional publicity campaign to promote the 2016 Morecambe festivals season.

A total of £16,660 is yet to be allocated.

Talks on funding will continue at a Morecambe Town Council meeting this Tuesday night at Morecambe Town Hall (7pm) and at the next festivals committee meeting on September 24.

The full list of funding recommendations are (with amount asked for in brackets):

Morecambe Fireworks Extravaganza £2,245 (£2,245)

The Bard on the Beach £2,000 (£4,000)

Morecambe Carnival Not determined, more info needed (£10,000)

North Lancs Soul £600 (asked for £3,640)

Nice ‘n’ Sleazy Not determined, more info needed (£3,500)

Tutti Frutti £0 (£4,000)

Seaside Fiesta Not determined, more info needed (£3,600)

Ship Ahoy - Children’s Festival of Creativity £0 (£6,878.18)

Splendid Day Out - October 2016 £1,500 (£3,000)

Country Kickback £0 (£3,000)

BluesWater £0 (£3,000)

Morecambe Jazz £0 (£3,000)

Motown Magic £0 (£3,000)

Club Tropicana £0 (£3,000)

Zombieville £0 (£1,500)

Morecambe Live £3,000 (£3,000)

Barefest £850 (£850)

Bare Christmas on the Crescent £600 (£600)

Lantern Festival £1,500 (£3,000)

West End Festival £1,500 (£2,000)

Promenade Concert Orchestra £2,000 (£2,000)

Armed Forces Day £500 (500)

Splendid Day Out: May 2016 £3,000 (£3,000)

Kite Festival £4,000 (£4,000)

Vintage £18,000 (£18,000 in principle, subject to full accounts and evaluation report)