Agenda item

Future - Bournemouth Air Festival

This report provides background to Bournemouth Air Festival, outlines the financial and environmental challenges of continuing to run the festival after 2023, and recommends a new way forward developed from the work of the Air Festival Task and Finish group

Decision:

RESOLVED that Cabinet: -

(a)           agrees to BCP Council running a three-day Air Festival in 2024, at a net cost of £200k to BCP Council.  This will require the Air Festival team to work with local businesses to bring in additional sponsorship, donations, external funding, and commercial activity of at least £100k; 

(b)           noted the inherent financial risks associated with the running of an Air Festival including weather related loss of income;

(c)           agreed that there will be no Council funding or direct staffing support for the Air Festival beyond 2024;

(d)           agreed to invite proposals from external organisations to support and fund Air Festival in 2025 and beyond; and

(e)           delegates to the Director of Commercial Operations in consultation with the Portfolio holders for Finance and Connected Communities, the implementation of these decisions.

Voting: 7:1

Reason

To achieve the corporate vision of delivery of dynamic places by funding and delivering Bournemouth Air Festival in 2024, whilst also acknowledging the Council’s current and future financial position and therefore the requirement to cease Council funding beyond this point. To formally invite proposals for an alternative model of delivery for 2025 onward and provide the opportunity on the Sunday following the Air Festival for an externally funded and operated community day/festival as proposed by the Task & Finish Group.

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Connected Communities presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'C' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

Cabinet was advised that the report provided background to Bournemouth Air Festival, outlined the financial and environmental challenges of continuing to run the festival after 2023, and recommended a new way forward developed from the work of the Air Festival Task and Finish group.

Cabinet was informed that this was the first time that the council had had the opportunity to look really closely at this event, and that whilst ways in which to fund the air festival for 2024 were being explored that from 2025 the council wouldn’t be funding the air festival in the same way and that sustainable funding needed to be found going forwards.

Cabinet was advised that there were currently two ongoing online petitions both of which were still running and neither of which had hit the requisite number of signatures to be submitted to Council.

Councillor Tarling addressed the Cabinet commending the Portfolio Holders and officers for the work which had been carried out to date and for getting to the bottom of the actual cost of the event. In addition, Councillor Tarling advised that he wouldn’t want the event to be cancelled but that alternative funding needs to be established.

Cabinet discussed future funding arrangements emphasising the importance of a robust approach to finding sponsorship for the future and to working with the private sector to find funding to close the gap.

The Portfolio Holder for Climate Response, Environment and Energy raised concerns with regards to the event not fitting with the climate emergency commitments and being unable to justify the spend as it wasn’t essential.

Cabinet expressed support for the proposed way forward and thanked everyone including residents and those in industry who had assisted, in addition to this Cabinet was advised that the environmental impact was being looked at and expressions of interest for future funding of the event was always welcome.

Cabinet was advised that the proposed approach offered both a compromise and an opportunity and further thanks was expressed to all those who had been involved in the Task and Finish Group.

RESOLVED that Cabinet: -

a)             agrees to BCP Council running a three-day Air Festival in 2024, at a net cost of £200k to BCP Council.  This will require the Air Festival team to work with local businesses to bring in additional sponsorship, donations, external funding, and commercial activity of at least £100k; 

b)             noted the inherent financial risks associated with the running of an Air Festival including weather related loss of income;

c)             agreed that there will be no Council funding or direct staffing support for the Air Festival beyond 2024;

d)             agreed to invite proposals from external organisations to support and fund Air Festival in 2025 and beyond; and

e)             delegates to the Director of Commercial Operations in consultation with the Portfolio holders for Finance and Connected Communities, the implementation of these decisions.

Voting: 7:1

Portfolio Holder: Connected Communities

Reason

To achieve the corporate vision of delivery of dynamic places by funding and delivering Bournemouth Air Festival in 2024, whilst also acknowledging the Council’s current and future financial position and therefore the requirement to cease Council funding beyond this point. To formally invite proposals for an alternative model of delivery for 2025 onward and provide the opportunity on the Sunday following the Air Festival for an externally funded and operated community day/festival as proposed by the Task & Finish Group.

 

Supporting documents: