By Matthew Bates 29/06 Updated: 29/06 16:11
THIS year's Godiva Festival has been cancelled due to bad weather, Coventry City Council has confirmed.
It announced the news this morning (Friday), a day after freak storms battered War Memorial Park, the venue for the free annual event.
The first acts were set to play later today with a packed programme of events over the weekend. Among the headliners were Cast, Space, The Pigeon Detectives and The View.
A celebration evening to welcome the Olympic Torch will still be held on Sunday evening.
The council said it was a difficult decision to make after staff had worked long hours battling the elements for the past two weeks. The decision was left as left as possible in a bid to beat the bad weather.
A spokesman said: "We know how disappointed thousands of people will be, not only the Festival goers, but the musicians, local groups and organisations and stall holders who were all looking forward to the weekend.
"We're devastated that we've had to make this decision – we've been working for months on this year's festival, and have been working so hard over the past couple of weeks to put on the event despite the weather.
"Conditions in the park deteriorated badly overnight – and the showers this morning and forecast for the weekend means that the ground simply can't take any more rain.
"Conditions in the park have become difficult for the crews building the site and caterers and suppliers trying to put their stalls on the site.
"We've kept going as long as possible, but the rain this morning has made the already difficult conditions impossible to continue with. We carried out a full site inspection of the park this morning – some parts of the park are dangerously boggy.
"This is not a Festival site on farmland, as Glastonbury and other festivals are, it's a park that's used by thousands of people every day, and we can't risk damaging the site any further.
"However, the Torch Relay evening celebration event will go on. It's in a different part of the park, where new football pitches have been created so the ground is well drained and it is far less boggy than other areas of the park.
"We hope that as many people as possible will join us at the park from 5pm onwards and that the event will be some consolation for all the disappointed festival goers."
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