Horncastle’s Summer Festival still has a future, says chairman

Grey clouds and a near empty Market Place at the Summer Festival
Grey clouds and a near empty Market Place at the Summer Festival

Horncastle’s Summer Festival still has a future, despite criticism of the 2015 event from residents and business owners.

While the 2015 So Festival was hailed as an outstanding success for the town, the Summer Festival - held the following day - struggled.

Councillor Fiona Martin, chairman of the town’s Festivals Committee, accepted there were problems but said she thought the event should carry on.

She appealed for new volunteers to come forward to serve on the committee and inject new ideas.

Coun Martin, who serves on the Town and District Council, said: “There were a number of factors beyond our control.

“One was the weather. The rain did deter a lot of people from coming.

“We also knew we were down on the number of stalls this year and, even then, some stall holders did not turn up on the day.

“There should have been another ride for children but the owner contacted us a couple of days before to say his lorry had broken down and he couldn’t get it repaired in time. “

Coun Martin said she had received positive feedback.

She added: “Some stallholders said they did well and some of the local groups and charities were also happy.

“It certainly wasn’t all doom and gloom.

“Numbers were down but people say they enjoyed the live music, although they would have liked to have seen a few more attractions.“

Coun Martin said it was unfair to compare the Summer Festival with the district-wide So Festival which had a much bigger budget.

She confirmed there would a “full review” of the Summer Festival.

She explained: “We always have a review and there are always things you could do better.

“There were a lot of other events taking place so perhaps we need to look at moving to another date.

“Our Christmas Festival is very popular and it would be nice to think we could keep two festivals a year going.

“The festivals promote businesses and put the town on the map. If that’s not happening then we need to look at it again.“

Coun Martin said it cost around £4,000 to stage the festival, with more than £2,000 spent on the road closures.

Several people contacted the News to complain about the Festival.

Sue Larkin said: “There wasn’t enough to see and it wasn’t worth paying to park the car. We’d seen everything in 10 minutes.”

Dave Harold added: “We brought the kids and they were bored after five minutes.”

Lauren Butcher, who was on holiday in the area, said she thought the festival was ‘good’ and had helped promote Horncastle.

She added: “There’s nothing like this where we live and it is really good to see towns putting events on. It’s a shame there weren’t more people.”