The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #135928   Message #3101191
Posted By: Dave Roberts
23-Feb-11 - 10:48 AM
Thread Name: Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival (2011)
Subject: Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival (England
From the 'Winsford & Middlewich Guardian:

MIDDLEWICH Folk and Boat Festival has been saved.

It has been revealed that the town's flagship event, which attracts 20,000 people, was in jeopardy.

The 20-year-old festival was previously run as a charity but due to diminishing volunteers and financial difficulties, the town council has come to the rescue.

But visitors will notice some major changes as Middlewich Rose Fete and the dog show is being merged with the festival in June and there will be no marquee.

Stephen Dent, former festival chairman, said: "We want to get the message to the town that the Folk and Boat Festival is happening. There were rumours that it was finishing.

"The organisers decided to call it a day and we've picked it up. The committee went down to just a few people and it's a lot of work to run it independently."

In the past, the event has attracted renowned artists like Bob Geldof but the team of council workers, councillors and volunteers will now shift the focus on the community.

Stephen added: "The charity had difficulty running it the way it had in the past.

"The marquee is extremely expensive - the stage, the lighting, the top class sound system, the stewards, health and safety issues.

"For 200 people at the most, it just won't make a profit on that basis at the moment.

"This year will be more about Middlewich, it was an international event at the time.

"We may need to consider changing the name in the future as the majority of people in Middlewich like a variety of music, not just folk."

Jonathan Williams, town clerk, added: "It's so important to the economic life of the town but we don't need to take the commercial risk.

"This will ensure that in these harsh economic times the festival can be run within tight budget constraints and the new organising committee can focus on delivering a revamped event."

As part of the changes, organisers have promised that the traditional festival parade will be making a return.

Middlewich Town Council has allocated £4,500 toward the Folk and Boat Festival in its budget.

There will be concerts, heritage events, traditional boats on display, a funfair, a flower festival and other community events, almost all of which is free.

Organisers argue that most people won't notice a difference.

Another reason the charity has called it a day is that marketing director Tim Turner suffered a massive heart attack in September while on holiday with his wife Diane in Caernarfon.

He was saved by two passers by who performed CPR for around 15 minutes before an emergency first responder arrived with a defibrillator.