Tue, 25 Dec 2018
THATCHAM X Factor could be a thing in a bid to engage with younger people in the town.
The “mad” suggestion was made while discussing the future of the Thatcham Festival, which is to be cut down next year.
The festival started in 2001 and packed in 16 events into three days. This year’s event ran for 14 days and featured more than 60 events.
The growth of the festival, which aims to promote the town and clubs and organisations in it, takes a toll on Thatcham Town Council staff, who organise it.
A report into this year’s festival said that the reliance on officers had become unreasonable and impacted greatly on the day-to-day operation of the council before and after the event due to officers taking lieu time for hours worked.
As such, the festival, which cost almost £18,000 to run this year, has been recommended to be cut back to a maximum of nine days.
And with the majority of attendees aged between 50 and 70, the report recommended that a reduced festival would free up time for the family fun day, which attracts more people and a wider demographic.
Discussing the future of the festival, the town council’s civic manager Jennie Currie said that most events were well attended but tended to attract a core following.
She added that work needed to be done on attracting more people to events.
The town council paid for a Facebook advert to promote the festival, and Miss Currie said the platform was “very popular with women in their 20s to 50s and it’s getting that slightly younger market who don’t necessarily look at the Newbury Weekly News”.
Rob Denton-Powell (Con, Thatcham South and Crookham) said: “A week is more than enough. I think nine days is too much.
“In terms of greater demographics, I think that goes down to our social media strategy.
“Facebook is used by older, more mature individuals. Most younger people use Snapchat or Instagram.
Mr Denton-Powell said that the council could engage more with schools and academies and “have some more youthful things, perhaps having, I know it’s a bit mad, but Thatcham X Factor”.
Agreeing with a reduction of days, town council leader Jason Collis (Con, Thatcham North) said: “I’m a history fan. I would quite like to go back to three.
“It gives us the freedom to do things throughout the year.
“At the moment we are putting a lot of resources into this.
“The demographic, we have that problem with everything we do.”
Two-time mayor Ellen Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) said that cutting down the days was a very good idea.
She said: “The point about officer time is entirely understandable. I think that we, as councillors, should be putting in more time to help and assist at more events.”