Council defends £450,000 Godiva Festival loss

By Matthew Bates 06/07 Updated: 12/07 11:06

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Thousands did pack into Memorial Park on Sunday - but only to welcome the Olympic Torch after the Godiva Festival was cancelled.

GODIVA Festival organisers have defended the decision not to insure the event against bad weather.

The city council lost around £450,000 after it was cancelled hours before the first acts were due to go on stage at War Memorial Park on Friday.

Deputy leader George Duggins described the loss as 'deeply regrettable' but claimed it was the right decision to not secure insurance before the event.

He said the council had asked for a quote from two insurers. The first - Hiscox - would not insure the event while the second - Leisure and Lifestyle Insurance - wanted a £16,000 fee for £75,000 cover.

"It would have cost over £90,000 to insure - over the 15 years of the Godiva Festival, that would have mounted to £1.4 million in insurance premiums," he said.

"The Godiva Festival has never been insured, whether under ourselves or CV One.

"If there are lessons to be learned we will look at those but the decision I had to take was whether it was safe to go ahead.

"It simply wasn't."

A celebration to welcome the Olympic Torch was still held at Memorial Park on Sunday - but in an area fitted with better drainage.

A council spokesman added: "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."

Venues across the city stepped into welcome some of the comedy and musical acts, although none of the headliners - including Cast, Space, The Pigeon Detectives and The View - were secured.

Nightclub Kasbah hosted the final of Godiva Awakes, a competition for unsigned local bands which was set to give one act the chance to play on the festival's main stage.

Rich Heneghan, from winners Dark Actors, said: "It has been a tough competition and obviously we are disappointed we didn't get to play the Godiva Festival but the atmosphere and support of the crowd has certainly made up for it."

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