Second chance for Morecambe festivals

The Tutti Frutti 1950s festival in Morecambe.
The Tutti Frutti 1950s festival in Morecambe.
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Festival organisers in Morecambe have been thrown a funding lifeline.

Event promoters have been given the chance to reapply for grants after originally fearing they would be frozen out.

This means the Tutti Frutti 1950s festival, a new Children’s Festival of Creativity and a series of music shows run by longtime promoter Steve Middlesbrough will be invited to bid again for cash.

But they have also been warned the remaining money pot is likely to be small.

Morecambe Town Council voted 14 to three at a meeting on Tuesday to allow “significantly revised” funding applications.

The vote was the brainchild of Coun David Brayshaw, who himself runs events such as Morecambe Carnival and the Seaside Fiesta.

“I feel the important thing is that we get it right,” said Coun Brayshaw.

“We have money left in the budget.”

But Coun Roger Dennison, chairman of the Festivals Advisory Panel, warned the town council needed to mindful of possible cuts to its own funding in future years.

“We took the view that we must be frugal,” he said.

“We will be getting considerably less money and I don’t think we can hand it all out.”

Coun Janice Hanson, a Labour colleague of Coun Brayshaw, proposed an alternative vote. She wanted the council to accept the earlier findings of a festivals committee who said Tutti Frutti, the children’s festival and Mr Middlesbrough should get no funds this year. This motion was defeated six votes to four.

“I thought the recommendations were fine,” said Coun Hanson after the meeting.

“I knew there wouldn’t be enough money to go around and didn’t want to raise false hopes for anybody.”

The council agreed with all of the committee’s other recommendations on grants.

Organisers of Morecambe Carnival, the Seaside Fiesta and the Nice ‘n’ Sleazy punk festival will be invited to a meeting on September 24 to make revised bids for money.

The carnival has asked for £10,000 to help the event, which drew more than 37,000 to the town in May, to become even bigger next year.

But councillors want to ask further questions of organisers before they make a decision. They have also asked for more details on the Seaside Fiesta, a world music and food event launched in Morecambe in August.

Promoters of the punk festival have been told to resubmit a business plan before their bid will be considered.

If all three bids are successful, this would leave just £3,650 for Tutti Frutti, the Children’s Festival and Mr Middlesbrough to fight over.

They have to reapply for funds by October 2.

Kate Drummond, who wants to run the children’s festival on Morecambe seafront next August, told The Visitor on Wednesday she would be bidding again.

The town council also agreed £18,000 for next year’s Vintage-by-the-Sea event “in principle”. This is subject to receiving full accounts and an evaluation report from organisers.

Vintage-by-the-Sea, co-run by top designer Wayne Hemingway, pulled more than 40,000 people to Morecambe earlier this month.

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 were among those given the money they asked for.

The North Lancs Soul Festival, The League of Splendid steampunks and the West End Festival were given funding, but not as much as they wanted.

A Morecambe Town Council spokesman said: “The council had many difficult decisions to make as its budget did not allow all applicants to be supported. It should be remembered that as a parish council, the council has a limited annual budget of £180,000 and has not increased Council Tax since it was established in 2009.

“Despite this the council was able to continue to support some of the town’s established festivals which attract significant numbers of visitors already to the town.

“The council would like to thank all organisers for their applications and to acknowledge the

tireless work of the many volunteers in the town who work hard to organise these festivals and events.”

FUNDING DECISIONS(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, can reapply (£4,000)

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

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

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

Country Kickback £0, can reapply (£3,000)

BluesWater £0, can reapply (£3,000)

Morecambe Jazz £0, can reapply (£3,000)

Motown Magic £0, can reapply (£3,000)

Club Tropicana £0, can reapply (£3,000)

Zombieville £0, can reapply (£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)