Glastonbury festival screening event axed

Worthing Sand Courts where the screen was to be placed
Worthing Sand Courts where the screen was to be placed

A MUSIC event planned for this weekend has been cancelled at the last minute due to a lack of funding.

Worthing’s Big Screen was due to show Glastonbury festival live to an audience of hundreds at the Coast Cafe Volleyball Courts.

But organisers Stefan Sykes and Olly Strong claim that just a week before the event was due to be held, the BBC banned them from charging people for entry, leaving them unable to fund the event.

Ticket holders were yesterday given a glimmer of hope as members of the Worthing Town Centre Initiative held talks over whether they could step in and provide the £7,500 needed to cover the costs.

The group of 25 traders were asked whether they wanted to use their small contingency fund to allow the event to go ahead, but were unable to reach an agreement.

Worthing Town Centre Initiative manager Sharon Clarke said: “Due to the amount of money involved, we needed to hold a full and frank debate, which there wasn’t time to do.

“It’s a huge amount of money from our budget and we just couldn’t do it given the time-scales.”

Chairman of the Worthing Town Centre Initiative Chris Spratt considered the responses from the traders yesterday afternoon before making the decision not to go ahead with the funding.

Worthing’s Big Screen organisers claim they secured permission to charge for entry to the event in December.

They said a recent email from the head of the council’s Safety Advisory Group caused Glastonbury Festival Limited and the BBC to change their minds at the last minute.

However, a statement released on Tuesday by Worthing Borough Council said: “After speaking with Glastonbury Festival Limited and the BBC it became clear that not all the necessary permissions were in place to hold this kind of paid-for event.”

Worthing borough councillor David Chapman disagreed with Worthing’s Big Screen organisers’ claims that intervention from council officers caused the BBC to withdraw permission for the event.

He said that from reading the documents, it appeared permission was never in place from the outset.

Worthing’s Big Screen organisers said: “This event would have created a great deal of positive tourism for Worthing and it is with great regret it has come to this.

“This was an event intended for all ages and, indeed, the majority of tickets already sold had gone to those in their 30s and 40s with families and friends essentially getting together to watch a big TV.”

The Worthing Borough Council statement said it was looking forward to working with the organisers in the future, but it was not prepared to risk legal action by allowing the event to go ahead.