A POPULAR community festival is being forced to stop because of too much red tape and too little community input.
Organisers say this is likely to be the last Beveridge Park Festival because they are facing increasingly tighter controls and legislation, less funding and a lack of volunteers.
The three day festival, which has been held during the first weekend in July since it was re-introduced to Kirkcaldy’s calendar by Fife Council in 2000, before being taken over by a voluntary committee three years later, has been a big crowd puller over the last decade.
But the organising committee, chaired by Liz Easton of Kirkcaldy YMCA, say that the extra burden of tighter health and safety monitoring, additional pressures against public alcohol consumption, increased insurance and other costs and a drastic fall in grants and sponsorship means it will probably be unable to continue after this year.
The decision was reached by the committee following a meeting last week when members decided that the festival would be unable to finance a marquee next year, effectively meaning an end to the festival.
“If we can’t have a marquee in which to hold our sell-out band nights, then there is no way we can afford to finance the festival, which costs around £8000 each year,” explained Liz.
“It is a very sad thing, but with the government’s crackdown on drinking in public, it means that every year it is more and more difficult for us to get a license for the marquee for the Friday and Saturday nights when we have the big name bands playing, which, between ticket sales and the bar pays for the vast majority of the costs.
“Then there is more and more emphasis on health and safety which puts up the cost of insurance and the rise in the number of people we have to insure every year, to the point that we were having to insure school pupils running a tombola stall.
“Then there is the lack of voluntary support, which means that fewer and fewer people are having to do more and more work, and it is just becoming too much.
“The economic climate is also having an impact. Last year we received around £1000 in donations, and this year it is about £200, which has to be made up by more fundraising.”
The final decision will be made by the committee in September after this year’s festival which is on the theme of ‘Health and Fitness’ and will start off with a massive Zumbathon in the park.
“It is very sad, but there is no way the festival can continue in its current format when we are up against so many obstacles.” said Liz.
“We would be happy to speak to any other groups interested in taking it over, but raising such a large amount is a huge task.”