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QUESTION MARK OVER THE FUTURE OF THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL

festival2013charliethomasThe Executive of the Isle of Wight Council is considering a change to the arrangements the Council has with Isle of Wight Festival promoter, Solo, for the use of Seaclose Park, Newport – to support the award-winning event and ensure that it can continue to play its part in promoting the Island and supporting its economy.

Solo has asked the council to vary the terms of its existing 10-year agreement for the use of Seaclose Park so as to assist with the significant costs and risks associated with organising the event, which have significantly increased since it was reintroduced in 2002.

The news has left a question mark over the future of the Festival.

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The report to the Executive, which meets on 13 October, states:

“The council recognises the wider economic benefit that the Isle of Wight Festival has brought to the local economy since it was re-established in 2002, which in 2008 was estimated at more than £10 million per year.”

To secure this economic benefit for the Island, the Executive is being asked to consider reducing the council’s fee for the use of Seaclose Park – but with Solo taking on many of the activities to mitigate the impact of the event on the local community, which the council previously funded from the site fee.

Council leader, Councillor Jonathan Bacon, said:

“The Isle of Wight Festival is a world-renowned event that has benefited the Island hugely since its reintroduction and subsequent successful development by Solo. It has attracted numerous world-famous performers to the Island over the past 14 years, as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors. It has also been hugely significant in helping to promote the Island as a great place to live, work and visit.

“It is vital we continue to work closely in partnership with Solo to ensure that the festival continues to thrive and develop, and to continue to bring economic and many other benefits to the Island.

“The council’s Executive will fully and properly consider the recommendation to revise the terms of the agreement, together with the other options detailed in the report, when it meets on 13 October.”

Featured photo: Ben Tutty

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