Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Festival: Organisers withdraw hire fee request

Festival goers watch Busted on the main stage Image copyright PA
Image caption The festival organisers pay £55,000 a year to hire Seaclose Park in Newport

Organisers of the Isle of Wight Festival have dropped a request to waive the fee for hiring the venue, the council has said.

An island council report had said there was a "real risk" that unless promoters Solo reduce costs or increase ticket sales the event may be cancelled.

But, the authority said after "incorrect media inferences" Solo had withdrawn the request.

Solo said its priority had been to keep ticket prices down.

The promoters currently pay £55,000 a year for the hire of Seaclose Park in Newport.

The council report, which had been due to be discussed on Thursday, said the costs of staging the festival are increasing and Solo faced either reducing its running costs or raising ticket prices.

"If the council decides not to vary or waive the annual payment for the use of Seaclose Park there is a risk that Solo may decide it is unable to stage the Isle of Wight Festival in 2017" it said.

The council had proposed cutting the hire fee for Seaclose Park by £42,000, with Solo taking on responsibilities such as traffic management at Halberry Lane estate and additional public toilets.

'No cutting quality'

A council statement released on Monday said Solo had withdrawn the request and it would now work with the council to look at alternative ways to reduce the costs of the festival.

Solo's John Giddings said he "hoped" the festival had a future.

"It depends on a number of factors being in place, but that is always the case," he said.

"The priority is keeping tickets down to a reasonable price and I don't intend cutting the quality of the show. I'm not going to debate money in the public domain."

The Isle of Wight Festival, re-established in 2002, is thought to generate about £10m a year for the local economy, the council said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Queen and Adam Lambert were one of the headline acts in 2016
Image copyright Isle of Wight festival 2016
Image caption The council said the festival generated about £10m a year for the Isle of Wight economy

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