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Newbury's 'Christmas Festival' cancelled, again

Organiser cites increased costs and limited uptake

John Herring

Reporter:

John Herring

Contact:

01635 886633

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The Christmas market has been cancelled in Newbury for another year. 

Newbury Business Improvement District (BID) had been working with Hampshire-based Icthus Event Solutions to bring a 'Christmas village' to the town. 

The festival was set to see Victoria Park filled with chalets and seasonal attractions for 24 days in November and December.

But just weeks before the festive festivities were set to begin, the organiser has been forced to cancel.  

A statement issued on the festival's website said: "It is with great regret that Icthus Event Solutions Ltd have to announce the cancellation of the 2016 Newbury Christmas Market.

"Due to increased costs and limited uptake from traders the event is no longer financially viable to Icthus as an organisation and are not able to meet the costs of overheads for the event and hire of Victoria Park.

"We would like to offer our sincere apologies to Newbury BID and Newbury Town Council who have supported us in this venture to date. We would also like to extend this apology to the Newbury community."

The cancellation is the latest festive fiasco to hit the town. 

The first Christmas market in 2013 caused controversy after Victoria Park was damaged by vehicles, chalets and people using the muddy ground. 

Newbury Town Council also waived the £2,500 rental fee for organsiers Pegasus Promotions and Events Ltd after the company said it couldn't afford it.

A reindeer also escaped on to the A339. 

A smaller market was held near St Nicolas' Church in 2014 but was again criticised for having too many food outlets and not enough gift stalls. 

Then, in 2015, the BID and Icthus had to pull out of holding an event in the park citing that they ran out of time to stage the event.

Speaking on the latest cancellation the managing director of Newbury BID, Russell Downing, said: “Newbury Bid are hugely disappointed following the announcement from Icthus at this late stage.

"A great deal of time from the BID Christmas and events group and management had been invested supporting this event along with Newbury Town Council, as well as the management at Icthus Event Solutions Ltd.”

However, Mr Downing remained upbeat.

“Newbury has a number of great Christmas events scheduled and we will be adding to these to ensure that Newbury is vibrant and full of festive cheer over this period."

Newbury's Christmas lights switch-on and Father Christmas parade will be held on Sunday, November 27.

Late night shopping and a Choir of 1,000 Voices will be held on December 15, starting at 5pm.

For reaction to this story pick up next week's Newbury Weekly News.

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Article comments

  • kerrie

    10/12/2016 - 01:01

    Newbury, is meant to be a market town and no Christmas market? Something needs sorting out!

    Reply

  • JJP01

    04/11/2016 - 12:12

    Why is the market place never used for these events? It's an area capable of holding these "markets" but is never used over and above the usual weekly markets and art events... it sits there empty and would be a great place to hold a Xmas market... maybe I'm missing something?

    Reply

    • Basher

      04/11/2016 - 17:05

      The Thursday and Saturday stallholders?

      Reply

    • Bombey

      04/11/2016 - 13:01

      Probably something with the cost of hiring it for 3 weeks. .

      Reply

      • quadnewbury

        04/11/2016 - 16:04

        Why a hire charge ? for using an otherwise empty market square ? Greedy W B C again ?

        Reply

  • Ihavenonickname

    04/11/2016 - 11:11

    Sheds in the park peddling overpriced junk, food and drink just doesn't cut the mustard any more! I for one won't miss it!

    Reply

    • Bombey

      04/11/2016 - 11:11

      Which probably explains the 'limited uptake' of chalets....

      Reply

  • Bombey

    04/11/2016 - 11:11

    Icthus are the same folk that organise Winchester Cathedral's Christmas Market. They also were the firm that actually did the 2013 Market in Newbury. Pegasus Promotions and Events Ltd were some local intermediary......

    Reply

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