Last night saw the first meeting of Morecambe Town Council’s Festival & Events sub-committee.
The Morecambe Bay Independents led meeting were there to discuss how the 2015 funding should be administered. This amounts to around £67,500 which could significantly contribute towards a full 2015 schedule of Festivals in the town.
There are many willing and experienced festival organisers who rely on this funding to provide free festivals for Morecambe but the Town Council’s funding decisions have attracted much criticism because of their inconsistencies, lack of vision and arbitrary method of awarding money.
Whilst the MC14 Morecambe Carnival proceeded without any Town Council funding and was a resounding success, there was no acknowledgement of this at the sub-committee meeting and instead of building on this success and that of other existing events in Morecambe, the proposal was agreed to put on their own events instead.
This means that, apart from £5K retained for small Community events to bid for, all other funding will be dropped, in favour of 3 events, to be managed by Morecambe Town Council. This means that MTC will effectively project manage all 3 events without any prior experience. This will inevitably lead to buying in project management experience and a costly, time consuming round of tendering for anything over £1,000. Whilst there was no acknowledgement of the Carnival’s success, the Water Fest was cited as a great success and emerged as a front runner as one of the 3 events for MTC’s 2015 offering.
Whilst Water Fest had merit, it was woefully under subscribed and could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as a 3 day Festival event. More on this separately, however, we expect the sub-committee’s decision to be agreed at the full council meeting on 17th July.
In our view, what should have been agreed was a better way of handing out this public money, rather than keeping it for themselves.
A more open, honest and consultative process could be implemented, with 3 year funding decisions made, in return for demonstrated results and full accountability for taking funding from the tax payers. Instead, we have the MBIs now effectively deciding not to build on any previous success stories and retaining the entire Festivals budget to award as they see fit.
We are very interested in hearing what the Morecambe Community has to say about this – leave a comment below.
Also check out The Bay Radio’s news coverage on this subject: http://www.thebay.co.uk/news/local-news/fears-grow-for-morecambe-festival-future/
The Morecambe Carnival Organising Committee