Festivals and Events are a huge part of Morecambe’s heritage, so a huge thank you to everyone for getting involved in the debate over the future of our festivals and events. Hundreds of people from the Morecambe community stepped forward and made their voices heard over the proposed changes to the funding of Morecambe’s Festivals and Events.
Thanks to this public support and passionate debate from the many councillors who also felt that this proposal was not in the best interests of Morecambe, the community has scored a victory for festivals and events in our town. A new amended proposal passed instead of the original proposal which would have cut support to many events.
While Morecambe Carnival did not receive Town Council funding on 2014, many of our supporters and fellow events did. We felt it critical to get involved in this debate to help ensure the future of Morecambe Festivals and Events.
Members of the Morecambe Carnival Organising Committee attended the Morecambe Town Council meeting on Thursday night (17/07/14). Our Chairman David Brayshaw read a statement on behalf of the event organisers of Morecambe, making our collective objections to the proposed funding changes heard. He called for the reinstatement of the previous funding application process instead of moving forward with the tabled proposal.
The Festivals and Events Debate
Many Councillors presented their views on the subject both fore and against. Supporters of the proposal from the Morecambe Bay Independents insisted that the plan was going to help move Morecambe’s events forward, in line with how larger councils operate festivals and events. They also stated that they felt there had been a misinformation campaign against this proposal. However over the weeks, no representative had come forward to set the record straight on this alleged misrepresentation despite The Bay Radio’s request for comment on the proposal and the public’s impression of it.
Opponents of the proposal would not be swayed and with a great deal of passion questioned the tabled proposal.
Councillor Archer, opposing the proposal opened the debate with a fantastic speech to the council, calling for Councillors to listen to the people of the town. After which an applause rang out from the packed public gallery.
Councillor Bates brought up the important question of other ways in which the council should be helping events to become self-sustaining.
Labour Councillor David Whitaker brought up the key point of how the change in funding would impact the local economy and people. A question that could not easily be answered as no survey or study on the impact had been carried out.
Councillor Terrie Metcalfe passionately spoke of how the events and festival organisers of Morecambe work the socks off and should be supported.
Councillor Hansen (who also serves on Lancaster City and Lancashire County Council) spoke up to question some of the details in the minutes and details of the proposal which appeared to have changed since last debated. No clear answer for this discrepancy was offered by supporters of the proposal. She also noted that many members of the public had spoken out over their concerns for the future of Morecambe’s festivals and events, presenting statistics from The Bay Radio’s brilliant online survey.
Numerous opposing councillors pointed out that if the proposal were to pass there would be only nine months in order to set up or commission a whole series of festivals and events in time for the 2015 season. This is a totally unrealistic time frame. The Morecambe Carnival for 2015 began its planning phase the same week as the 2014 carnival!
Critical to the debate Councillor Darren Clifford proposed an amendment to the proposal in which instead of withholding funding in favour of a series of council lead or commissioned events a new ‘Festivals and Events Working Group’ should be established. This group will involve all parties in the council as well as representatives from the Morecambe community, event organisers, local traders, members of the public and Lancaster City Council. The aim of this group will be to formulate a 4 year festivals and events programme and find an effective way to fund the festivals and events of Morecambe.
The amended proposal was put to the council. 14 Fore, 6 Against and 1 Abstention. The amended proposal passed.
The Future for Festivals and Events
This is great news and a great win for Morecambe’s Festivals and Events and as we believe – for common sense. The new working group will help to ensure the future of festivals and events in Morecambe. No doubt it will be a lot of hard work, much like bringing back the Morecambe Carnival. But this is a worthwhile challenge.
The debate on the future of Morecambe’s festivals and events is not over so please feel free to join us on Facebook and join in the discussion. Also listen out on The Bay for more news on Morecambe festival and events funding.
Morecambe Carnival will return in 2015 and we have plans in motion that will ensure that we can bring the carnival back to Morecambe for years to come. There are loads of great events in Morecambe throughout the year. The Morecambe Carnival Team will be doing their part to help promote them – please too support your local festivals and events.
The Morecambe Carnival Team