A YEAR of festivities is planned for Chesterfield after councillors voted to shake up the town’s Arts and Markets Festival.
A meeting of the cabinet voted in favour of changes to the annual autumn event, including scrapping the Garden of Light attraction at Queen’s Park to save money to use for Jubilee and Olympic torch celebrations.
Nick Stringer, executive member for leisure, culture and tourism said that in 2011 the light show cost £37,500 to stage, but made only £12,937 in ticket income.
He added: “That is unsustainable for something which takes place for three days a year. It is not value for money for Chesterfield tax payers, and there are other events that are.”
Around £6,300 from the 2012/13 festival budget has been earmarked for Diamond Jubilee celebrations, with a beacon event, a ‘Night at the Proms’ concert and an event for couples celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary amongst the proposals.
A further £10,000 will be allocated to celebrations on June 29, when the Olympic Torch passes through Chesterfield.
John Burrows, leader of the council, said: “We need to make sure we do justice for these two unique events and I want to ensure the council puts some activities on for the celebrations for the people of Chesterfield.”
The council also agreed to the introduction of an annual community arts festival to be held over the May bank holiday, with the first in 2013.
Terry Gilby, deputy leader of the council, said that spreading the festival content over two events in May and October, would ensure that people are able to get the most out of each programme and ensure venues are not competing for visitors by hosting several events at once.
He said: “It seems sensible to me to spread the festival over the year and I support the recommendation.”
l What do you think of the shake up to the programme of festivals for Chesterfield? Email firstname.lastname@example.org