THE VICTORIAN FESTIVAL NEEDS YOU!
The Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival will take place this year from 21st to 27th August 2017; but since its 30th anniversary in 2011 it has experienced both administrative and financial problems, as the article from the BBC website ( below) in 2011 shows.
2011 was almost the last year of the Victorian Festival, but it was saved, even though grants and sponsorship had fallen dramatically.
A new committee was formed for the 2014 and 2015 festivals, the 2015 festival making a dramatic loss which was covered by the reserves, but left almost no money for the 2016 festival.
At the AGM at the end of November the full committee resigned. Christopher Hartley stepped into the void as Festival Director with a great deal of assistance from Alan Parton.
It was not until April 2016 that we had a plan for the 2016 festival, a new website created and a new formula souvenir programme prepared for the press launch of the festival on 24th May 2016.
There was a great deal of apathy in the town as to whether the 2016 festival would go ahead; the costs of an office and other administrative fees were enormous, this was solved by not paying an administrator , the festival director doing this free of charge, also the festival director created a new website sponsored by 'DICKENS' on South Crescent. The office was also transferred to 'DICKENS' at no cost, the savings made actually saved the festival, plus the hard work from a newly co-opted committee and help from members of previous committees,
We managed to acquire a grant from Powys County Council for three years of £5,670.00 per year. This was some £3,000 less than for the 2015 festival, plus we received sponsorship from the Town Council in the sum of £600 much less than in 2015.
For the 2017 festival we still have funding from the county council of £5,670 plus £1,500 from the town council, this plus the limited sponsorship received and the surplus from 2016 will ensure a successful festival for 2017 and hopefully for 2018 - but the funding could stop from the county council for the 2019 festival, which should be a special one for the town being the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria on 24th May 1819, this would be excellent exposure for the town.
If we look at programmes from the 1980's and 1990's it can be seen that some 85% of businesses who supported the festival financially, closed down in the intervening years.
Also grants are some 7.5% of the original grants of £80,000 in the early years and half of that in 2014
SO WE NEED THE TOWN TO ASSIST!
DURING VICTORIAN WEEK HOTELS, RESTAURANTS, PUBLIC HOUSES AND SHOPS BENEFIT FROM THE FESTIVAL - BUT ARE NOT INVESTING IN IT!
If you want the Victorian Festival to continue it needs more participation from the town residents and its businesses.
We endeavour always to have a great fireworks finale, if the same number of visitors who come to the fireworks display would visit the town during the festival week things would improve.
The team members of the Festival Committee will be offering an excellent programme of events this year, please help us to do this for the years to come.
BBC ARTICLE 2011
"A lack of new blood could mean that a festival in mid Wales celebrating the Victorian era could come to an end.
For nine days every August Llandrindod Wells in Powys looks like the set of BBC TV's Lark Rise to Candleford.
Tens of thousands flock to take part in an event launched in 1981 to mark the town's development as a spa town in the 19th Century.
But the festival's administrator claims a lack of volunteers could mean this year's event will be the last.
"This year marks our 30th anniversary but it could well be the last festival," said 73-year-old Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival administrator, Sheila Richards.
"There are only five of us organising the event each year and we are all getting on in years.
"We are finding it more and more difficult to get volunteers to help run the event so unless some new blood agree to take over responsibilities then we will have to wind the festival up."
Each August up to 40,000 people visit for the nine-day event, which includes street entertainment, a craft marquee, talks on Victorian life and concerts at venues, including the town's own Albert Hall.
Mrs Richards added that the festival's financial future was also in doubt.
"We have secured £3,000 from the town council but we are unsure if we will get our usual funding of £11,000 from Powys Council because of the economic situation," she said.
Llandrindod Wells’ county councillor Mike Hodges said that losing the festival would affect hoteliers ,bed and breakfasts, restaurants and shops in the area.
"This is a big event for the area and its loss would impact on hoteliers and caravan park sites for a 10-mile radius around Llandrindod Wells," he said.
"But I am hopeful that a phoenix will arise from the ashes, even if the festival will have to be shortened from nine days."
The 2011 festival takes place between 20 and 28 August."