Festival funding snub fury

Morecambe Bay Watersports Clubs have been awarded �12,000 for a watersports festival.
Morecambe Bay Watersports Clubs have been awarded �12,000 for a watersports festival.

A festival organiser has slammed Morecambe Town Council after he failed to receive any funding for his annual events.

Steve Middlesbrough, organiser of Morecambe Live Weekender, Country Kickback, Blueswater, Morecambe Jazz, Motown Magic and Zombieville, had asked for £20,700 - but will receive nothing.

He said: “We have received nothing about the decision and the reasons for the decision.

“We have had 32,500 visitors to the festivals in four years so we are quite proud of that.

“I’m not surprised at the decision. Money has been given with gritted teeth for the last four years.

“The problem is they are trying to micromanage something they know nothing about.

“They need to let the producers get on with their jobs.

“I expect better from Morecambe Town Council. Some of these decisions are playground politics.”

Christine Stebbing, vice chair of Morecambe Town Team said: “Mr Middlesbrough has provided free entertainment for local people and visitors alike for many years and has been praised many times for his efforts (not least in the House of Commons).

“It is a sad day for the town to see he has no budget provision at all.”

The organisers of MC14 the reintroduction of Morecambe’s carnival said they couldn’t understand why their application for funding should be snubbed.

Morecambe Town Council have recommended a contribution of just 7% of the organisational costs, £1500, towards the cost of staging the carnival.

Applications for funding for festivals in Morecambe are to be readvertised despite many well established festivals being refused funds.

Morecambe Town Council has a surplus of £15,000 within the overall Festivals Budget for 2014/15 and is now inviting applications for funding to be received by Friday, December 20.

Roger Dennison, Torrisholme Ward Councillor, said: “These were very difficult decisions to make but we wanted to do the best for Morecambe in the future.”

Chairman of Morecambe Town Council Councillor David Kerr said: “Some of the festivals which have been funded every year since 2009 when the Town

Council was formed, and the continuing support of the same festivals year on year is unsustainable, and by its nature prompts inertia in a fast changing entertainment offer.

“Therefore the Council has decided to re-advertise £15,000 of its 2014 Festivals Budget to attract a new and larger festival(s) with the potential to grow year on year and to become sustainable.

“Festival and Event organisers are encouraged to submit proposals to the Council by December 20.”

In addition the Council allocated £45,000 of funds to the following festivals in 2014:

Vintage by the Sea - £18,000

Water sports Festivals - £12,000

Morecambe Carnival - £1,500

Bare Festival - £1,000

Catch the Wind - £2,500

West End Festival - £1,000

Winter Lantern Festival - £1,000

Promenade Concert Orchestra - £1,000

North Lancs Soul Festival - £2,000

Nice n Sleazy - £3,000

Tutti Frutti - £2,000

The council are also recommending that the Bay Community Dance Festival 2014 should be awarded a sum of £1,350 from the Youth and Senior Citizen Budget for one year only.

A spokesperson for Morecambe Bay water sports clubs who are organising the Bay Watersports Festival said: “We are truly delighted that the proposal has been received so warmly from Morecambe Town Council. The festival presents an exciting opportunity to animate Morecambe Bay and its waters for the town.”