Bexhill’s hugely popular Roaring 20s event will not be returning this year.
The town’s flagship event, which attracts thousands of people from across the country, has been cancelled because of a lack of funding, according to the organisers.
In an online post, Alastair Hazell wrote: “I sit here writing this article with a tear in my eye. Believe me when I tell you this is an article I hoped not to have to write for a long time.
“It is with deep regret and sadness that Roger Crouch and I today announce that Bexhill’s flagship event - The Bexhill Roaring 20s - will not be returning in 2018.
“We have been forced to make this decision because of a lack of committed Rother District Council funding towards our community (non-profit), free, family event. It goes without saying that losing Bexhill’s biggest event for decades will deal an enormous blow to Bexhill’s yearly tourism economy.
“Our event has successfully generated many hundreds of thousands of pounds of yearly income for Bexhill and brought people from far and wide to both visit and live. And that’s the important point in this – Bexhill has always made the money and yielded the benefits from this event – we, the organisers, have never made a bean (in fact, we’ve spent enormous sums of our own money on it).”
He continued: “Last year’s event was tough on both Roger and I. We have both suffered significant financial losses. If we had been sensible, we might never have gone ahead with the event in 2017. But, we love putting on a show. And that makes today’s announcement hard.
“We weren’t expecting Rother to fully fund the event, and we recognise there isn’t the money available to do so. What we were looking for was a sign of intent – to increase funding back to the level at which we began. And that simply has not happened.”
Quoted in the article, organiser Roger Crouch said: “In creating the Bexhill Roaring 20s, Alastair and I wanted to bring a unique event to Bexhill that befitted the town; engaging the community, bringing visitors from far and wide and promoting all that is great about Bexhill. We believe we achieved that objective.”
In the summer of 2016, when questioned about the funding it supplies to local events, a Rother District Council spokesman said: “As part of our ongoing efforts to increase visitor numbers in Bexhill, we set aside £9,000 each year to support new events.
“The funding is agreed for three years and designed to help events become established and attract backing from other organisations. “We are delighted to have been able to support three popular events over the past three years – Motofest, Roaring 20s and Festival of the Sea – and look forward to helping new events in future years and boosting tourism in the area.
“We will also continue to assist established events, where possible, with support including the free use of car parks, public land and waste services.”
Mr Hazell’s full statement can be read here: http://www.discoverbexhill.com/articles/end-of-bexhill-roaring-20s