Penarth brass bands lose funding | News

Thursday, 21 March 2019

– Local People

by Tim ChapmanGEM Reporter

The chairman of Penarth Tourism and Visitor Association, Anthony Ernest, has called on Vale councillors to reject proposals to scrap £5,000 worth of funding for summer brass band concerts in the town.

The Vale Council says it has taken the action because of reducing budgets and pointed out it still supports a number of events in the town.

But Mr Ernest said abandoning the weekend concerts in the height of summer would strike at the heart of the summertime programme of events which brings thousands of people to the resort.

He said: “These concerts not only bring great pleasure to visitors but also to the many Penarthians who regularly enjoy a walk along the seafront at the weekend. Ending the concerts would take away one more well-loved event that helps keep the esplanade and pier bustling and lively at peak times of the holiday period.

“Not so many years ago, concert style music was played on Sunday afternoons over a loudspeaker in the Italian Gardens while people relaxed in deck chairs the length of the promenade. 

“Now the deck chairs have gone, the recorded music has gone and the replacement by brass bands which came from former mining valleys to play to appreciative audiences looks like going as well.

“Regrettably the Vale has decided to put much of its tourism ‘spend’ into promoting Barry Island, while the budget for Penarth is very low in comparison, despite Penarth being the second largest town in the Vale and paying a substantially larger amount of council tax to the Vale.”

He said the actual cost of staging the concerts is “remarkably low” because there are no venue costs and no staffing requirements.

He added: “The budget cut for 2019 of around £5,000 for these concerts is such a small sum in return for the income generated in the town. Councillors face the charge of not being alive to exactly what tourism actually brings to a Welsh resort. I sincerely hope they will reconsider their proposal.”

A Vale Council spokeswoman said that in a climate of reducing budgets and growing financial pressures, the council had to allocate its limited funds carefully.

She explained: “Increasingly, we are encouraging events to become self-sufficient and sustainable by seeking their own sponsorship and income sources rather than relying on grants. That strategy allows the council to focus its limited funds on helping new innovative events to start up.

“After financing the brass band for more than a decade, unfortunately this year that will not be possible. However, we are supporting a range of other events in Penarth, including the summer festival, Christmas festival, Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride and Carnival Penarth.

“We are also currently developing a #DiscoverPenarth campaign with Penarth Tourism and Visitor Association and Penarth traders which we will run alongside Visit Wales’ Year of Discovery campaign.

“When deciding which events to support, it is important to consider such factors as the scope of their appeal as well as the economic and social benefit they provide.”


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