Lowestoft airshow secured for next year

ORGANISERS have confirmed that next summer’s Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival will go ahead in spite of the losses made at this year’s event.

The team behind the popular airshow made the decision this week after five tense weeks spent looking at the feasibility of staging the festival in 2011 after it emerged that this year’s show made a loss of about �40,000.

This summer’s festival was hit by the worst weather in the event’s 14-year history, with crowds being soaked by heavy rain showers and hailstorms and there were even lightning strikes and a funnel cloud.

Now the organisers have said that next year’s air festival will definitely take place, with dates already confirmed as Thursday August 11 and Friday 12.

Air festival managing director Paul Bayfield said: “This year’s loss of around �40,000 can be put down to bad weather on both days, which hit the attendance, the bucket collection, park and ride and merchandise sales.

“Fortunately, however, over the past five years we have put in place a wet weather contingency. This means that not only will we be able to pay everyone, but it also gives us a springboard for next year.”

The event, which has been organised by a private, not-for-profit organisation since it was passed over from Waveney District Council five years ago, relies largely on money donated in bucket collections on the seafront but the amount of money given by the 333,000 visitors this year was �85,832 - down by �34,309 from 2009 when an estimated 420,000 attended.

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It had also been feared that plans for the 2011 festival would be hit hard by wider budget cuts, a VAT increase and the increased costs for other services, such as emergency service provision.

Mr Bayfield said that the decision to go ahead with next year’s festival was bolstered by messages of support from people who had enjoyed this year’s event despite the weather.

“We have been immensely encouraged by the hundreds of positive comments we have received since last month’s airshow and we are also grateful to some businesses who have either pledged support or who have sent a donation.

“This support has enabled us to make the decision to go ahead in 2011. The dates are set and we will be submitting our usual application for displays to the Royal Air Force events team before the end of this month.”

He added: “We will be relying once again on the generosity of the public and we will also be looking at various ways we can reduce our costs to make the 2011 air festival both successful and viable.”

• For more information, visit www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk. Donations towards next year’s event can be made by cheque to Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival Ltd, 41 Tennyson Road, Lowestoft, NR32 1PS.