Isle of Wight Festival’s future in jeopardy

The 2017 Isle of Wight Festival may be cancelled unless costs can be cut, a report due to go before the Isle of Wight Council executive this Thursday warns.

The committee is due to consider an application by festival organisers Solo to waive the £55,000-a-year fee paid for the use of Seaclose Park, the Isle of Wight County Press reports.

According to a 2008 report, the internationally-renowned event was worth an estimated £10m a year to the Isle of Wight economy, and Solo has said it spends around £1.3m with local suppliers.

But the emergence of the new report means that the festival’s future has been called into question.

It said: "Over recent years there has been a significant increase in major festivals being staged across the country, which has started to impact on the viability of new and established events, with some being cancelled.

"It would be unreasonable to assume the reduction in the land hire charge is the sole determinant as to whether the festival is staged, but Solo has made it clear that unless costs can be reduced the event may not be viable to stage in 2017. Solo has indicated they need to resolve all their costs by the end of October 2016 in order to make a decision as to whether the 2017 event will go ahead."

Council officers have put forward a proposal to cut the land hire fee to £13,000 for the coming year, if Solo agrees to take on managing some of the work currently done by the IW Council.

That would include traffic management around the Halberry Lane Estate, CCTV on the main roads and additional public toilets at travel hubs.

"It [IoW Festival] has attracted numerous world-famous performers to the Island over the past 14 years, as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors. It has also been hugely significant in helping to promote the Island as a great place to live, work and visit,” said council leader Cllr Jonathan Bacon. "It is vital we continue to work closely in partnership with Solo to ensure that the festival continues to thrive and develop, and to continue to bring economic and many other benefits to the Island.”

The 2016 Festival saw the deployment of a new Meyer Sound LEO system supplied by Wigwam Acoustics and headline performances from The Who, Faithless, Stereophonics, and Queen + Adam Lambert.