ONLY a third of tickets have been sold for this weekend’s Godiva Festival.
Charges have been introduced for the first time this year, for what was previously billed the country’s biggest free music festival.
Just over 50,000 tickets have been sold for this year’s event as of this morning (Friday) with the three-day event due to begin tonight.
About 150,000 tickets are available over the three days – in line with annual attendances.
This year, a £2 ‘administration fee’ per day is being charged for each ticket, with under-fives entering for free.
It follows an increased net overspend last year at the Coventry City Council 20-year-old event, which has for years brought in less income than expenditure.
A council spokesperson told us today: “Tickets sales have been very brisk in the past couple of weeks and this is continuing to accelerate as people start to make plans for the sunny weekend ahead – in fact we have sold more than 11,000 tickets in the first three days of this week alone.
“Due to its popularity, the capacity at the festival was increased from 30,000 to 50,000 in 2018.
“Although tickets will be available on the day, they will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis.
“Traditionally Saturday is the day of the biggest attendance and on Saturday night last year, a peak audience of 41,000 revellers were in the War Memorial Park enjoying the performances – a record for the highest number of people at any one time in the Festival’s 20 year history.
“To guarantee entry and to avoid unnecessary queues, delays and potential disappointment, people are advised to get their tickets in advance by visiting www.godivafestival.com/tickets.”
An on-site parking charge has also been introduced and there are almost 2,000 spaces available for each day.
But as of this morning only 1,500 car parking tickets had been sold over the entire weekend.
There is a £10 on-site parking charge for each of the three days.
Council leaders have until now avoided introducing the charge, hoping for more sponsorship and other income-raising activities.
As we reported, the council spent more than four times its £150,000 budget for the festival last year, taking its total spending to £610,000.
Council bosses say the decision will help to ensure the annual event is delivered within budget.
Council chiefs also say the fee will cover the cost of the move to ticketing, which will enable them to better monitor crowds and ensure a safe event.
Rumours of a festival charge for ‘outsiders’ grew after the introduction of the GoCV loyalty card, giving Coventry residents discounts to the city’s attractions.
But few expected a blanket charge for all visitors.
The festival will take place this weekend from today (July 5) to Sunday in the War Memorial Park.
Headlining this year’s festival will be legendary boy band Busted, pop group Feeder and folk rockers Levellers.