18th Nov, 2017

Record crowds at Godiva Festival but future unclear

Coventry Editorial 7th Jul, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

THE FUTURE of Coventry’s Godiva Festival is still in doubt despite record-breaking crowds at this year’s festival.

While more than 141,000 people descended on War Memorial Park over the weekend, Coventry City Council has said it is still unsure whether the free family music festival will return next year.

In budget cut plans revealed last year, Councillors announced proposals to hold the festival bi-annually rather than every summer as a way of justifying the £300,000 the Council spend on running the festival.

And despite previous estimates stating the festival brings £4 million into Coventry’s economy, council leaders believe it is becoming increasingly difficult to stage the events unless more sponsorship or income can be raised.

Speaking about the future of Godiva Cabinet Member for Business Enterprise and Employment, Coun Kevin Maton, said it was not difficult to justify the festival itself as Coventrians look forward to it each year, but that it had to be considered alongside the pressures being placed on other services in the city.

He said: “The Godiva Festival puts Coventry on the map, but people need to realise that it is just part a series of events that we run throughout the year – promoting our city centre, heritage assets, and the festival itself.

“Of course the festival could happen again next year and I’m sure many people do not want to see it go, but we do have to look at how to fund it and not loose our other programmes.”

Coun Maton also said he hoped the conversation around the future of the Godiva Festival would motivate Coventrians to get behind the City of Culture 2021 bid.

He added: “What has been really positive after this weekend is to see a groundswell level of support for the festival and to be able to get festival goers reactions whether we could charge a ticket fee, or whether they felt this would in some way devalue Godiva.

“As a council we would welcome organisations or focus groups to come forward and form a ‘Friends of the Godiva Festival’ group which we could work with to discuss the options for the future of the festival.”

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