At its meeting on 13 February, Reepham Town Council decided not to support the Market Place events at this year’s Reepham 13 Music Festival.
For four years, the festival organisers had run the programme in the town’s market square on the Saturday of the festival, which included craft, trade and food and drink stalls, street entertainers and children’s attractions in the afternoon, and free music in the evening from 7-10 pm.
However, the organisers were unwilling to continue being personally liable for the financial risk involved in running this part of the programme, in addition to the increased workload involved in managing the main festival sites of Rookery Meadow, St Mary’s Church and Whitwell Station, which involves some 10 months of planning.
The Town Council stepped in last year to manage the Market Place events and undertook some arrangements on the day, in particular manning the road barriers.
However, much of the workload fell onto councillors themselves, who noted that, while the music in the Market Place in the evening was popular among certain sectors of the community, it was becoming increasingly difficult to find enough volunteers to assist throughout the day.
Moreover, income from stallholders and a generous donation from the Kings Arms would fall far short of the total costs for the day.
Town Council chairman Les Paterson admitted that the festival involved a lot of work last year for both councillors and council staff. “In financial terms, there is nothing in it for the Council or the town,” he said. “We would need at least a couple of people to take this on again.”
Read the festival organisers' response here