Essex

RiZE festival in Chelmsford cancelled for 2019

RiZE Festival Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Organisers of the RiZE Festival said it may return in 2020

A summer festival may be cancelled indefinitely after it left the city council almost £500,000 out of pocket, it has emerged.

RiZE, in Chelmsford, was set up in 2018 to replace the popular V Festival, which ran in Hylands Park for more than 20 years.

It will not be taking place again this year but Chelmsford City Council said RiZE may return in 2020.

Event organiser, Festival Republic, has been asked to comment.

The company recently announced plans to alter the scale of the two-day festival, which was last year headlined by Liam Gallagher and Stereophonics.

It will result in a loss of approximately £470,000 for the council, which also missed out on £38,000 in ticket sales commission, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said.

Documents show the authority has now reduced its income budget for 2019/20 by more than £760,000.

Image caption Liam Gallagher was one of the headline acts at the 2018 RiZE festival

Council leader Roy Whitehead admitted that RiZE "wasn't widely successful" but said he was "optimistic" for the future.

"It is a huge hole in the council finances, all of which we can fill with good management," he said.

"We are raising money from other directions and increasing income in other ways to make sure we have a balanced budget.

"Clearly, we want our residents to get entertainment as much as possible so we are looking at other smaller events that could take place."

V Festival, which started in 1996, attracted international artists such as Beyonce and Foo Fighters and grew from a licensed capacity of 35,000 to 90,000 per day.

The last economic impact assessment study from Chelmsford City Council estimated that it benefited the local economy by about £8m a year.

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