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Green-light for Gig in the Park 2019




Purple Lights performing in the park, last year. Picture by Mark Bullimore Photography
Purple Lights performing in the park, last year. Picture by Mark Bullimore Photography

Gig in the Park has been given the go-ahead for next year.

But discussions are still to be held over how much the organisers will be charged to stage the event, which means closing the park to non-paying public.

Last year, the three-day event, which cost £40,000 to stage, made a five-figure loss after being severely hit by harsh weather conditions.

The town council was hoping for a fee from any profit made.

At the full council meeting on Wednesday, however, councillors agreed a second event should be held next July, but that a sub-committee should be set up to determine an “appropriate fee” for use of the park.

Council leader Julian Mason called the prospect of setting an upfront fee unprecedented for Diss, as other events, such as Diss Cyclathon, still allowed access to the park.

He also warned councillors it could be a “deal-breaker” for Mr Dixon.

A list of conditions were applied by the council. These included a pathway being kept open behind the park pavilion, public toilet access throughout the event and that sound levels are contained.

Discussions were also held over whether the children’s play area in the park should be included in the enclosed area, which organisers pressed for to make the event “economically viable”.

Gig in the Park organiser Geoff Dixon told councillors on Wednesday that there would several changes at next year’s event, including controlling noise with a marquee tent and finishing earlier on the Saturday and Sunday.

Next year's festival will contain sound via the use of a main marquee.
Next year's festival will contain sound via the use of a main marquee.

The sound travel issue was the main criticism made in the 12 complaints received.

Mr Dixon told councillors: “From our perspective, it would be safe to say it wasn’t as much of a success as we would have liked it to be financially. We got hit by the weather badly and it caused us problems we hadn’t expected.

“The wind was picking the sound up and throwing it all over the town.

“The main thing is that more than 2,300 people came into the park, had a good time and were very safe. I think we can say that, on balance, it worked.”

Mr Dixon told the council the event had been praised by police for its safety.

He said: “Gig in the Park is a big thing for Diss. It brings a level of entertainment that’s equal to the best you can get in London, or anywhere else.”

Following the meeting, Mr Dixon thanked the council for being "forward thinking."



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