Now in its sixth year, Reepham Music Festival is ringing the changes to its August weekend timetable to offer even more value to festival-goers.
In past years, a fringe feature has been craft and food stalls in the Market Place during the day, followed by free bands in the evening after events on the main stages have come to a close.
Last year the organisers invited Reepham Town Council to take on the running of events in the town square, with the festival still funding the operating costs. The council did so, but has decided it cannot manage the difficult task of overseeing Saturday events in the square and formally announced its withdrawal from participation (see our earlier story).
As a result, 2013 will see an even greater emphasis on the main weekend festival (10-11 August) with the Saturday night “freebie” being dropped from the schedule.
“Traditionally, we’ve presented three bands in the square on the Saturday night,” explained festival director Steve Jenkins. “The town square stage costs a good deal of money to set up, but because it generates no income it is very much a loss leader.
“And the festival is very much a non-profit making, community-based venture, with net proceeds going to local charities and costs being met out of local sponsorship and ticket sales.
An additional problem is the shortage of volunteers to staff the evening event, along with the sheer cost of financing it – Mr Jenkins said this outcome is positive because it means that more resources, time and effort can now go towards making the main elements of the festival even bigger and better.
“It’s nobody’ fault,” he continued. “We have had to make some hard decisions about how to make the best use of finite resources and it actually points towards a stronger format for the festival.
“The money to run the festival is based on goodwill and, whilst the net profits are distributed to local charitable causes, any losses would have to be made up from the committee members’ own pockets – a slightly nerve-wracking prospect!”
Each year since 2008 the organisers have put in more than 700 hours of their own time ensuring the festival’s continued success.
Reepham Music Festival receives no public money and relies upon the support of sponsorship from local businesses, including Whitwell & Reepham Railway and Hansells Solicitors, with car parking provided by Reepham High School and College, avoiding congestion in the town centre.
The Festival team are justly proud of the direct association between town and festival. “It’s Reepham’s largest annual event, bringing thousands of pounds into the local economy each year,” Mr Jenkins pointed out.
“The event honours the town and reflects the spirit within the community. It’s Reepham’s festival, the name is on the tin! People here have embraced and taken ownership, and it’s supported by local businesses and organisations.
“But at the same time, it reaches out, bringing visitors from across the country – we know that festival-goers travel from as far afield as the West Midlands and even Scotland to be here. And that’s quite a tribute to a small market town in the middle of Norfolk.”
At a time when individuals and families are having to think hard about how they spend their leisure time and money, Reepham Festival has decided to hold ticket prices at last year’s level. Full details can be found at www.reephamfestival.co.uk
Anybody or any organisation interested in managing and running the events in the Market Place should contact Reepham Town Council on 01603 873355, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org The Reepham Festival organisers would also be happy to give advice, email: email@example.com