Porthcawl Carnival has become ‘financially unviable’ and could be scrapped – WalesOnline

A century-old seaside carnival might be scrapped after organisers declared it is no longer financially viable.

Porthcawl Buckaneers – which has run the charity fundraising event for 25 years – has pulled out of arrangements for summer 2016.

The decision has been taken following a row over traders, who are unconnected with the event, setting up near the carnival field.

Carnival director Kerry Marlow said they rely on ice-cream and food vans and other sellers paying for a space on the carnival field at Porthcawl RFC in order to cover their running costs.

“This pays for the insurances and all the main acts, entertainment and the floats for the procession,” said Kerry.

‘We are a charitable event and people should respect that’

But he said Bridgend County Borough Council has now denied his request to ban outside traders from setting up on Fitzhamon Road next to the field, which he claims is jeopardising the other traders’ income and consequently the money that pays for the event.

The carnival raises between £30,000 and £40,000 for dozens of local charities every year – split between bucket collections on the carnival route, which bring in £3,500 to £4,000 – and the charities’ own collections on the carnival field.

“We are a charitable event and people should respect that. But I can’t stop the other traders coming now,” he said.

“Without that control, it will have a financial effect on it and there’s not a lot we can do about it.

David Swidenbank
Colourful characters thrilled the crowds in the 2015 science-fiction themed Porthcawl Carnival.

“We don’t apply for funding because it would be taking it from somewhere else. We prefer to put the effort in and raise the money ourselves. But when it hits your financial side there’s not a lot you can do about it.

“We are not there to make money, we are there to bring the community together.

“The council said they would sit down and try to sort this out. But I asked if they could stop them coming and they said no.”

People travel to the carnival from across the UK

Kerry said the carnival began in 1904 and was run on and off by various people until Porthcawl Round Table took over in 1957.

Twenty five years ago they decided they could no longer run it and Kerry, who was a member, took it on.

It has been run by the Buckaneers’ committee, comprised of Kerry and just a handful of others, ever since.

Kerry said that every year, bus loads of visitors from as far afield as Birmingham travel to the carnival, which starts with a procession of floats through the town and ends up with an event on the rugby field.

David Swidenbank
Sea Cadets Porthcawl in the 2015 carnival

He added: “We haven’t said the carnival is cancelled. We have said it’s not viable to run. If someone wants to come in, if there are people who can run it in a different way and keep it going, we can assist them.

“I am just hoping that people will come out of the woodwork.”

The council is urging the carnival organisers to rethink

A council spokesman said: “This announcement comes as a complete surprise as any requirements relating to issues such as food safety, licensing or health and safety at the carnival are the same as they would be for any other event in the county borough.

“The only issue that we are aware of is that organisers had expressed concerns about the proximity of external traders not connected to the carnival, but we have already agreed to take this into account as part of the planning for next year’s event.

“The carnival has always been a popular and well-attended community event, so we hope that the organisers will reconsider.”

Source Article from http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/porthcawl-carnival-become-financially-unviable-10565947