THE three-day Godiva Festival will go ahead this year as a free event but Coventry council leaders have warned it could be the last unless more revenue streams are secured.
Under pressure from government cuts, Coventry City Council’s Labour leaders have since 2012 been suggesting the music and cultural festival needs more sponsorship and marketing.
Charging admission fees has also been mooted for years, as has cutting it back to once every two years.
Now councillor Abdul Khan, the council’s deputy leader, has emphasised the need for more revenue if the festival is to go-ahead from next year.
He said: “We will do our bit to try to ensure the festival will go ahead but we have to be clear at this time as well that we are looking to sponsors to ensure that the event is repeated.”
The festival has had an annual cost to city taxpayers of around £300,000.
The event began in 1997 and is billed as the largest free family music festival in the UK.
The £300,000 net cost is the difference between the council’s costs of delivering the festival in the War Memorial Park each summer, and income from sponsors and other commercial activities.
But the Godiva Festival has long been considered a ‘jewel in the city’s crown’.
The festival has attracted a record 148,000 visitors over Friday, Saturday and Sunday – up on previous records of around 120,000.
It also has the ability to generate income with visitors from the Midlands and further afield, spending their money in the city.
The decision comes as the city is bidding to become UK Capital of Culture.
Last year’s festival included a Coventry culture tent, which showcased the city’s musical and creative talent.
Legendary performances throughout the years have come from Coventry’s own chart-toppers The Enemy, Happy Mondays, Kasabian, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Human League.