Godiva Festival £460k overspend due to staging acts from cancelled Coventry Ricoh Arena concerts - The Coventry Observer

14th Aug, 2022

Godiva Festival £460k overspend due to staging acts from cancelled Coventry Ricoh Arena concerts

Felix Nobes 20th Feb, 2019 Updated: 20th Feb, 2019

COUNCIL chiefs have revealed a £460,000 Godiva Festival overspend was mostly the result of staging major acts from two cancelled council-backed Ricoh Arena concerts.

The ‘Coventry Live’ gigs at the Ricoh – featuring Ronan Keating and Jonas Blue – were both organised by the council to help raise cash to meet the spiralling costs of the annual free to attend Godiva Festival in the War Memorial Park.

But poor ticket sales saw both concerts cancelled and those who had bought tickets had to be refunded.

Coventry City Council Cabinet finance spokesman John Mutton this week revealed having already agreed a contract with the two headline acts they were added to the Godiva Festival line-up.

As we reported, Coventry City Council spent more than three times its paltry £150,000 budget for the festival, taking its total spending to £610,000.

Coun Mutton said: “Two of the headline acts which were supposed to have appeared at the Ricoh, weren’t able to go ahead because the tickets weren’t sold, so they came to the Godiva Festival instead.

“And of course, those kind of people (acts) charge the earth.

“They could have continued to go ahead at the Ricoh Arena, knowing that tickets weren’t selling and could have lost even more money than transferring two of those acts to the Godiva Festival.

“There’s money being put in for one year only. And that’s to give the cabinet member the opportunity to look at how we can raise more in sponsorship, more in income or drive down costs.”

Next year’s budget outlined a ‘more realistic’ one time £379,000 allocation for the event.

Council chiefs hope this can be increased through other measures including a parking charge at the War Memorial Park which they hope will raise £50,000.

And the council also plans to step up its branding and sponsorship efforts and introduce merchandise – in particular ‘Friend of Godiva Festival wristbands – which it says could raise a further £25,000.

The council is also considering making music fans from outside the city pay to attend the three-day festival in 2020 – putting an end to the event’s status as the UK’s biggest free festival.

A council spokesperson previously told us an independent evaluation shows that last year’s festival brought £2.3million into the economy with 20 per cent from non-Coventrians.

Last year’s festival attracted some 115,000 people to watch acts including Ronan Keating, Jake Bugg, and Professor Green.

The festival was first held in 1997, since when the likes of the Boomtown Rats, the Stranglers, Buzzcocks, the Happy Mondays, the Human League have taken to the stage.

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