Councillors decide not to pay £5k for Bury St Edmunds festival

Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds
Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds
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Bury St Edmunds Town Council will not be contributing to festivities taking place in the Abbey Gardens next month.

The Nearly Festival has arranged to hire the gardens from the borough council on June 11 and 12 – the same weekend as the Queen’s official 90th birthday celebrations – to stage a tribute act music event.

The town council decided last week not to subsidise the festival’s children’s zone, which would have allowed youngsters to enjoy all the activities for free.

Town councillor Frank Warby said members had not wanted to pay £5,000 for an event that would be charging people entrance fees.

“I’m 100 per cent against it,” he said.

“It’s the Queen’s celebrations, why charge people to go into the Abbey Gardens on that day?”

Cllr Jo Rayner, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure said: “This is entirely a matter for Bury St Edmunds Town Council to decide.

“They approached our Parks Service to see if there were any opportunities on which they could base a celebration of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday. A promoter we have worked with on other events is hiring the Abbey Gardens to put on the Nearly Festival, which will go ahead regardless, and looks to be highly enjoyable entertainment.

“The potential interest was for Bury Town Council to subsidise the children’s zone within the festival, so all the children’s activities could be free.

“The borough council is not organising this event. We are simply hiring the part of the Abbey Gardens already used several times a year for this purpose.

“The Mustow Street entrance will be for festival goers only, but the rest of the gardens are fully open for the public to enjoy.”