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By Steve Carpenter Monday 07 January 2013 Updated: 07/01 16:17
THE LOCATION of one of the biggest free festivals in the UK held every summer in Coventry is being put to the public vote.
Thousands of people from across the Midlands attend the city's flagship event, Godiva Festival, which will be returning to the event calender in 2013.
Last year the event was cancelled for the first time in its history because of the poor weather throughout the summer.
That led to the city centre-based event Godiva in the Square which was held in the newly revamped Broadgate square.
And now people face the straightforward choice of keeping with its current location in the War Memorial Park or in a new location in the city centre.
"The terrible weather which forced the first-ever cancellation of last summer's festival has required us to look at alternative options," said coun John Mutton, leader of the council.
"Everyone is passionate about the Godiva Festival and will have their own view on where they want this year's festival to be held – and I've got my own strong preference – however, we want the public of Coventry to have their say on where they want it to be held.
"I encourage everyone to play their part by voting over the next two weeks so we can see what their preference is."
A public voting process gets under way to day (Monday) with people being actively encouraged to make sure they have their say by voting for one of the two potential locations.
People can cast their votes by texting either CITY CENTRE or PARK to 07950 081216, ringing 024 7683 4040, visit www.coventry.gov.uk/godivafestival, or by sending a voting slip which can be found in this week's Coventry Observer by hand or post to Reception, Coventry Council House, Earl Street, Coventry, CV1 5RR or any Coventry library.
The deadline for people to pass on their votes is midnight on Sunday January 20.
With a main stage in Broadgate and a potential crowd of 8,000 – plus thousands more at other locations - a city centre festival would feature events and stages at sites such as Millennium Place and Ironmonger and Shelton Squares.
There would be no risk of rain ruining the big day and it would benefit city centre businesses such as shops and pubs.
Other benefits include easy access and parking. But on the downside there are no real picnic areas or large grassy spaces and it could cause disruption to workers and others not attending the Festival.
And a smaller main stage crowd means potentially fewer big name acts.
War Memorial Park:
The Park has been home to the Festival for 15 years and – apart from last year's cancellation for bad weather – has been a great success.
There's free onsite parking, a great funfair and room to contain the whole event in one area, with wide open spaces for picnics and that 'festival feel'.
The Park can host large audiences too and has attracted thousands to see a wide variety of bands including The Enemy and ABC.
Arguments against include the possible threat of rain leading to a repeat of last year's cancellation and the Park is out of action for other users. There's also the cost of restoring it to its former state.
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