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Row over promises

PUBLISHED: 02:12 18 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:40 03 March 2010

BUSINESSES and individuals were today accused of failing to honour promises to give cash help to stage Felixstowe's golden jubilee 11-hour music festival.

BUSINESSES and individuals were today accused of failing to honour promises to give cash help to stage Felixstowe's golden jubilee 11-hour music festival.

It has left the event with a shortfall in funding of more than £9,000 – twice the original prediction for the deficit.

Show co-ordinator LesArbon had hoped to put on a similar festival in future years to attract visitors to the resort but that dream will be in tatters unless the current funding problems can be overcome.

More than 35,000 people packed on to the seafront for the free extravaganza in June to enjoy more than 50 live bands, It's A Knock-out, street entertainers, air display, karaoke marathon, and fireworks.

Mr Arbon said it had cost £26,500 to put on – less than £1 per head – and had been the "showpiece event in all of Suffolk to mark and honour the Queen's Golden Jubilee."

However, raising the cash needed to stage it in just six months had provided a major headache, especially when several large bills came in near the event.

"In planning the event the committee faced great difficulties in managing the finances," said Mr Arbon.

"As no entrance fee was possible, large fixed costs, some of which were only identified late in the project, could only be offset by donations, large and small, from a variety of sources.

"Promises of donations were made by some individuals and businesses that were not honoured."

There were several reasons for the discrepancy. The park and ride bus receipts were £1,200 less than planned. The It's a Knockout challenge raised £500 less and visitors donated £1,500 less than forecast.

Extra VAT accounted for another £2,200, extra insurance was £800 and the shortfall from traders was £3,100.

Donations received totalled approximately £16,700, the festival has £442 in its account, and is seeking £9,300.

In a letter to the town council asking for help with the shortfall, Mr Arbon said: "I am sure you realise it is important to resolve this issue before it begins to mar the good reputation the town enjoys from the success of the event."

He has also written to other organisations for financial support including the port, the town's Rotary and Lions clubs, chamber of trade, the Suffolk chamber of commerce, district council, and the National Golden Jubilee.

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