Agenda item


Mike Candler, representing Culture and Neighbourhood Services at the City Council will be attending the meeting to provide a review of the recent Riverside Festival.


Mike Candler, (Cultural Quarter Project Director with Leicester City Council), explained that a City-wide review of the festivals and events programme was in progress. 


This followed an undertaking given in 2011 that a review would be made of all festivals and events part or full funded by the Council.  However, as a wide range of festivals and events would be included, it was decided that only those receiving £5,000 or more from the Council would be included in the review.


Mike Candler explained that he was at this meeting to explain how the review affected the Riverside Festival.  He thanked the Community Meeting for the grant that had been awarded to that 2012 Festival to help with the clean up after it had closed and expressed the hope that this had helped leave a good environment for residents.


He then drew attention to the following points:-


·           The consultation would end at 6.00 pm on Friday 27 July 2012;


·           The Festival was managed and delivered in conjunction with Riverside Housing and British Waterways;


·           The Council contributed £18,000 to this Festival.  This represented approximately 51% of the overall cost of the Festival of just under £35,000;


·           It was estimated that approximately 16,000 people had attended over the whole weekend of the event in both 2011 and 2012.  This made the cost to the Council approximately £1.12 for each attendee;


·           In 2011 a new partnership was established with the organisation “Dusk to Dawn”, with the aim of extending the Festival on to Braunstone Gate in the evening.  It was felt that this was well attended; and


·           The recommendation made in the review was to maintain current funding for the Riverside Festival and to explore the opportunity to hold a satellite event in Castle Gardens.  This would be linked to the main Riverside Festival by events staged along Western Boulevard.


The Meeting agreed that this was an excellent event, which was very well advertised.  The craft stalls on Braunstone Gate and the cycle tours were particularly mentioned.  The high standard of cleaning after the event also had been appreciated.


However, some reservations were expressed about extending the area of the Festival, as the Council had already proposed cancelling the Castle Gardens Festival.  It was suggested that it could be better to operate two separate events.


In reply, Mike Candler explained that a festival previously had been held in Castle Park during the week before the August bank holiday, but many people identified with Castle Gardens, rather than the Park.  It therefore was proposed to introduce a heritage and arts weekend festival, which would focus on the heritage of the City.


It was recognised that the Riverside Festival attracted many visitors from outside of the area and probably was at capacity in its current location.  As Western Boulevard was closed for the Festival, using it as part of the Festival area could encourage people to walk along the towpath and use the Castle Gardens.  Mike Candler emphasised that this was only a proposal and care was being taken not to destabilise the Festival by expanding it too quickly.


One concern was that some young people had been disappointed not to be able to find the stalls they usually visited at the 2012 event.  Due to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Festival had been held a week earlier than usual, but this had meant that some of the usual stall holders had not been able to attend, due to other commitments.


A further concern was that, due to difficulty in parking in the area, many people received parking tickets over the Festival weekend.  Mike Candler undertook to consider how this situation could be improved for future Festivals.  One possibility could be to develop a relationship with local organisations, such as De Montfort University, to see if it would be possible to use their facilities.


Anyone interested in participating in this review, could do so via the following link:  Paper copies of the consultation documents could be made available if preferred.


It was noted that the Festivals Team could advertise events not directly funded by the Council.  If details were sent to the team, they would include them in their regular events listings.