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Could this be the end for RiZE music festival?

PUBLISHED: 05:32 26 January 2019

RiZE Festival replaced the V Festival, which was also help at Hylands Park in Chelmsford. Picture: YUI MOK/PA

RiZE Festival replaced the V Festival, which was also help at Hylands Park in Chelmsford. Picture: YUI MOK/PA

Chelmsford’s summer festival RiZE may never be held again, leaving a £760,000 hole in the city’s budget, the council has revealed.

The Hylands Park festival, which had been organised as a replacement to V, only started last year.

However, documents have revealed that a decision has been made by organiser Festival Republic this month to defer the event in 2019, with an additional non-binding commitment to an event in 2020.

It had earlier been hoped that holding the event on a Saturday and Sunday would solve disappointing attendances in Rize’s debut event but following discussion with Chelmsford City Council, Festival Republic intends to alter the scale of the festival, resulting in an anticipated ongoing £470,000 income reduction in the council’s annual budget.

The council’s income budgets for 2019/20 have been reduced by £762,000 which may yet extend into future years; the council says an event is likely, but not definite, in 2020, resulting in a temporary £292,000 loss in income, which will be filled with money from reserves.

Roy Whitehead, leader of Chelmsford City Council, said: “V turned into Rize which wasn’t widely successful last year.

“It is a loss of considerable income.

“It is roughly £500,000 a year which we have to find.”

The council, which owns Hylands Park, has blamed changes by the festival organiser.

The council also lost £38,000 on ticket sales commission.

The council admits it does not have any control of the content of the event and acts as a hiring venue.

Cllr Whitehead added: “We are raising money from other directions and increasing income in other ways to make sure we have a balanced budget.

“It is a huge hole in the council finances all of which we can fill with good management. We are optimistic for the year ahead.”

He added that the council is now looking at organising its own event for Hylands.

“Clearly we want our residents to get entertainment as much as possible.

“We are looking at other events, smaller events that could take place.”

In 1996 a partnership was formed to share the council’s own Chelmsford Spectacular festival infrastructure with a private sector music promoter (Metropolis Music) over successive weekends in late August and V Festival was formed at Hylands.

V Festival attracted internationally acclaimed artists and grew incrementally from a licensed capacity of 35,000 to 90,000 per day.

The last economic impact assessment study from Chelmsford City Council estimated that the local economy directly benefited by around £8 million per annum.


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