Porthcawl Elvis festival could suffer £20k council budget cut

Elvis fans enjoying the 2016 festivities

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Fans from around the world gather in Porthcawl every year to honour “The King”

A seaside town’s annual Elvis Presley festival could be feeling “all shook up” if a council axes £20,000 funding.

The cash for road closures and street cleaning at the Porthcawl event could end next year to help Bridgend County Borough Council balance the books.

This year’s festival at the end of September is expected to attract around 40,000 fans to the town.

Festival founder Peter Phillips says the event would still take place but the “visitor experience” would suffer.

Launched in 2004 to raise money for the resort’s Grand Pavilion theatre, the festival has grown to encompass 100 Elvis impersonators playing over 1,000 shows at 20 venues across Porthcawl.

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The music legend from Tupelo, Mississippi, is still revered by fans throughout the world more than 40 years after his death in 1977.

Mr Phillips said the council had started paying for road closures on police advice, at an event which the Welsh Government said generated £5m a year for Porthcawl.

He added that as a collection of pubs and venues staging individual shows, the festival itself had no funding or revenue to pay for road closures, and could not effectively be cancelled.

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Getty Images

Image caption

Elvis Presley was famous for his glitzy stage shows

Mr Phillips said he would be disappointed if funding for road closures was scrapped.

“I fully understand the wider political issues, the lack of money for social care and mental health,” he told BBC Wales.

“But a lot of businesses rely on the festival as a big pay-day at the end of September after the summer season.

“If I was running a pub or chip shop, I’d be asking what are we paying our rates for.”

Cuts to street cleaning, CCTV, pest control and adult learning or a 13.6% hike in council tax are other options put forward in public consultation by Bridgend council, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Council leader Huw David said: “The coming year is going to be the toughest yet and there are no easy options to save millions of pounds.”

Article source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-49648252