Cuts-threatened Godiva festival returns to Coventry

Crowds at the Godiva Festival 2011 Image copyright Coventry City Council
Image caption Coventry's Godiva Festival will return in 2016 despite initial budget concerns

A free music festival is due to go ahead this year - despite fears there would not be enough money to stage it.

The 18th Godiva Festival will take place at Coventry's War Memorial Park between 1 and 3 July.

Coventry City Council had said there was "no budget" for a 2016 event after last year's cost the taxpayer £314,000.

But the authority announced it would go ahead once more, saying the 2015 festival gave Coventry an economic boost of about £1.7m.

Image caption The Fun Lovin' Criminals headlined the last Godiva Festival

Updates on this and other stories in Coventry and Warwickshire

The event, which attracted 141,000 people over three days last year, includes comedy, a funfair and family entertainment.

Last year's headliners included the Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Wombats, Embrace and JME.

The council had called for sponsors to allow the festival to continue to be free for another year.

It said it hoped to showcase its cultural and arts scene as it builds its bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2021.

Cllr Abdul Khan, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Events, said: "People will have seen there has been some debate and questions as to whether the event should continue due to the budget pressures we are facing as a council.

"However, we are really proud of the fact that Coventry Godiva Festival remains the biggest free family festival in the UK."

The headline acts will be announced in the coming weeks, he said.

Analysis by Sian Grzeszczyk, political reporter, BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire

I stood in the main field at Coventry's War Memorial Park during last year's Godiva Festival and the councillor in charge of events at the city council cast serious doubt over its future.

It's been going for 17 years, but money is a big headache for the council with them having to cut millions from the budget.

The council's ultimate aim is to fund the entire cost via sponsorship in the future.

But, when pushed, they couldn't guarantee the festival will run every year.

The festival has always been free to get into and will remain that way this year but the council says it hasn't ruled out introducing a charge in the future.

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