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Future of Gig in the Park hangs in the balance

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Gig in the Park, 2018
Gig in the Park, 2018

The future of Gig in the Park still hangs in the balance.

It follows a meeting of Diss Town Council this week, at which it was agreed to charge organisers £2,500 for closing the park for two-and-a-half days next summer.

The council also resolved to conduct a thorough review of any pricing structures for use of the park for 2020/21 before the end of the financial year.

Councillors had previously recommended that £2,500 be charged for 2019, with the possibility of it rising to £5,000 for subsequent years.

The decision was greeted with dismay by organiser Geoff Dixon – both at the level of the suggested fees and the time it was taking to make decisions, which he said was making it difficult to make informed business decisions for future years.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Mr Dixon opened discussions by telling councillors: “The likelihood of it taking place diminishes with each passing day while this event is discussed.

“The chance of it happening again also diminishes with the high price of £5,000 that you have placed on what you call a commercial use of the park.”

Cllr Chris Liggett said the recommendation was that it could “potentially” rise to £5,000.

Cllr Michael Crawford was keen to point out that the council was enthusiastic about the event, Cllr Simon Olander, meanwhile said he felt the meeting was not the place to be “bartering” over the fee and his request for it to be dealt with earlier had been ignored.

Around 2,300 people attended the inaugural event last year. It cost £40,000 to stage but made a five-figure loss after being hit by severe weather conditions

Following the meeting, Mr Dixon said he would be seeking clarification from the council regarding future years.

“That it has taken until December 12 to get us to this point really is a major and negative commercial challenge we could do without, and this serious delay may yet influence a decision to not hold the event in 2019,” he said.

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