Newark Festival likely to return in 2015 despite financial loss this year
7:00am Thu Jul 24, 2014
The Human League headlined the Saturday event at this year's Newark Festival
Newark Festival looks set to return next year.
The town council’s environment and leisure committee has recommended a £60,000 commitment to the 2015 event.
Members did, however, acknowledge that lessons needed to be learnt from this year’s event, held last month.
Concerns were raised by the public about ticketing, a lack of toilets and long bar queues.
The festival made a financial loss that will be borne by organisers Liz Hobbs Group. The amount has not been made public. It was caused by lower-than-anticipated ticket sales.
Liz Hobbs Group has told the council it is willing to organise the 2015 festival.
Council leader Mrs Gill Dawn said it was important an early decision was made to go ahead with next year’s festival so the organisers had as much time as possible to work on it.
Mrs Dawn said: “There were one or two issues that weren’t addressed but there will always be issues.
“I was delighted with the event on the Saturday. The town was packed and shops, restaurants and pubs must have done very well.
“There was a good feeling and that’s what it’s all about. It’s about Newark people and visitors feeling good about themselves.”
In a report to the council, town clerk Mr Alan Mellor said the decision to introduce a two-for-one ticket option nearer to the festival date resulted in complaints from people who bought their tickets through an early bird offer or at full price.
He said that decision was an attempt to improve attendance and boost income from the two concerts.
Union J headlined on the Friday and The Human League on the Saturday.
An analysis of ticket sales by postcode showed that about 75% of online sales were to Not-tingham postcodes and about 66% of sales from Newark Town Hall were to NG24 postcodes.
The council estimated that 7,750 people attended the three concerts over the weekend of June 20 to 22, with the Friday and Saturday paid events followed by a free Proms In The Park on the Sunday.
Associated events such as the Saturday food and craft market, Newark Carnival, and the family fun day were all deemed successful.
Caroline Sheppard, commercial director of Liz Hobbs Group, said: “We did make a small loss as expected with the development of festivals across the UK normally taking a few years before they make a profit.
“We take on board the feedback that there was a requirement for more toilets and bars because the ticket sales improved closer to the festival when we introduced the two-for-one tickets.
“We intend to build on this year’s event which, overall, was a great success. There will be many improvements.”
She said introducing the two-for-one tickets worked the same way as a sale, in that prices could change subject to demand.