Free events have to be paid for

SADLY, Mr Rosco (Letters, April 26) is misinformed. The request for event sponsorship was not made to Hastings Borough Council but to the Foreshore Trust which is an entirely separate entity.

The principle of beach-based ‘free event’ funding was agreed and budgeted for by the trust last December. Unfortunately, the bureaucratic processes that subsequently got attached to the simple principle have in effect booted the available funding into the long grass as far as this years 25th anniversary event is concerned, hence the plea for alternative funding.

As to the comments about collections, perhaps your correspondent should consider that most so-called ‘free events’ are only free admission and inevitably incur significant costs to put on – many of those costs imposed on organisers by thev council.

In the case of the Beach Concert, last year’s bucket collection raised £2,700 from much reduced crowd numbers due to the poor weather. Compare that with around £4,000 collected from a 14,000+ Pirate Day crowd and a similar amount collected from a 20,000+ bonfire crowd last year.

Does your correspondent think that those events cost nothing to stage? They were both ‘free’ to the general public, as are other local events like Jack-in-the-Green, but they all cost an awful lot more to put on than the collection monies ever raise?

Without the considerable efforts of local residents who work so hard to put on these ‘free’ events, Hastings in particular would be deprived of much of what makes the town so special, becoming more like so many other sterile and soulless towns, which clearly at present, Hastings is not. It’s ironic that all this should have happened at a time when Hastings and Bexhill are bidding for City of Culture status.

ALAN SMITH

Hastings Free Beach Concert