Willow Festival to charge this year

Willow Festival 2014 at Embankment. Crowds enjoying the event EMN-141207-193142009
Willow Festival 2014 at Embankment. Crowds enjoying the event EMN-141207-193142009
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Music fans will be charged to visit a popular festival in Peterborough for the first time after the city council withdrew funding.

The Willow Festival will take place on the Embankment between July 8 and July 10, with hundreds of unsigned bands taking to the stage.

The event was last held in 2014, and has always been free - but this year visitors will be charged £10 for a weekend ticket, along with a £1 booking fee.

Organiser Mark Ringer said: “We had always had some sort of support from the council until 2014. We ran it for free then, but it caused a lot of pain and stress for the organisers.

“After a sabbatical, we came to the conclusion the only way to continue would be to charge. The lowest we thought we could go was £10 per person for a weekend ticket.

“Any profit we do make will be put straight back into the festival for next year. The organisers, even myself, are all volunteers.

“We exist to help new, unsigned bands, and the festival is the biggest of its type in the world. It is a world class event, and there are no attractions in Peterborough like it for the same price.”

Annette Joyce, Service Director – City Services and Communications for Peterborough City Council, said: “We had an agreement with Mr Ringer to provide funding to support the Willow Festival for three years. This arrangement ended in 2014 and we have always been honest with Mr Ringer that we cannot provide any further funding.

“We have a finite amount of money available to spend on city events and therefore we have to plan carefully each year so that we can host and support as many events as possible for residents and visitors.”

For more information, visit www.willowfestival.org.uk