Staging of 2021 Bradley Stoke Community Festival hangs in the balance

Photo of festival crowd.
Bradley Stoke Community Festival, 8th June 2019.

With coronavirus restrictions set to be gradually eased in the coming weeks, the staging of the 2021 Bradley Stoke Community Festival, due to take place on the weekend of 11th-13th June, is hanging in the balance.

Enquiries by the Journal have revealed that town councillors currently anticipate making a final ‘go / no go’ decision on the 2021 festival at a committee meeting scheduled for [21st April] 28th April.

However, organisers of the Bradley Stoke 10k Run, due to take place on the Sunday of the festival weekend, have already decided to cancel their event in a physical form, although entrants are being offered the option of taking part in a virtual race (read more below).

The Schools Festival of Football, due to take place on the Saturday of the festival weekend, could still go ahead, provided there is sufficient uptake from the participating schools (read more below).

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A town council spokesperson told the Journal:

“No decision has yet been made by the town council with regard to the 2021 Community Festival. In line with the HM Government roadmap (and also event advice from the South Gloucestershire Council, Safety Advisory Group), providing that Step 3 of the roadmap is activated by HM Government as of 17th May 2021, the event will be able to go ahead as it is an outdoor event.”

“We would need to ensure there are robust risk assessments and other measures in place, i.e. increased distances between stalls etc.”

“It is anticipated that a final decision on the 2021 Community Festival will be made at the BSTC Finance Committee meeting on 21st April 2021 as, by then we will have a clearer picture of whether the initial timescales linked to Step 1 (8th March and 29th March) and Step 2 (no earlier than 12th April 2021) of the HM Government roadmaps have been achieved.”

Graphic describing Covid-19 Roadmap, Step 3.
UK government Covid-19 Roadmap 2021, Step 3.

As for most events of a similar nature, the later a decision to cancel is made, the higher the associated unrecoverable expenses are likely to be.

Cancellation of last year’s festival (decided under delegated powers on 30th March 2020) saw the town council still having to shell out £8,712 of the original budget of £26,200.

Organisation of the festival is contracted out to an event management company and their allocated budget for the 2021 Community Festival is £21,000 plus an extra £4,000 which is separately ring-fenced for the community element of the festival (the same as in previous years). The total figure of £25,000 includes all disbursements necessary to stage the festival plus fees retained by the management company.

A town council spokesperson told the Journal:

“If the 2021 festival was to be cancelled in April, the unrecoverable expenditure would be the management company element as any pre-paid deposits for supplies can be transferred over to the 2022 festival. It is estimated that the figure would be similar to the 2020 figure.”

Related links:

Bradley Stoke 10k Run

Photo of finishers.
Finishers at the 2019 Bradley Stoke 10k Run.
Statement from Sole Sisters, organisers of the annual Bradley Stoke 10k Run, normally held on the Sunday of the festival weekend:
We have today emailed entrants to the Bradley Stoke 10K, to advise them that this years race is cancelled.

To say that this has been a difficult decision for us to make is an understatement but as the festival weekend is so close to the current final stages of the easing of lockdown, if the festival was in August, then we would have had more options available to us.

Even if the easing of lockdown goes to plan, based on the current guidance, we would need to look at how we comply with the guidance at the time. The risks of us not being able to put on the event as planned are currently too great and we have looked at the feasibility of different options such as staggering start times – this would mean our event would go on for more than the 1.5-hour time limit resulting in an increased impact to the local traffic; looking at shifts for our marshals to cover this extended time; recruiting additional marshals, increased events hire costs. We have looked at reducing our numbers but, if we do this then we will make a loss and as a club, we cannot afford to do this – although there are some scalable costs (such as t-shirts) some of the costs are fixed irrespective of the number of entrants.

We have incurred some costs from last year’s cancelled event and whilst most companies have been very supportive there are some expenses that we have had to absorb, but we do not have lots of funds in our club to absorb another cancelled event. As you know, we do not run the event for profit and take pride in being able to support charities and local community groups such as the guides with any proceeds over and above the event costs.

We are offering entrants 3 choices:
  1. Participate in the event virtually
  2. Transfer their entry to June 2022
  3. Request a partial refund (Original entry fee less booking fees and costs that the club has already absorbed)

We appreciate that if the festival does go ahead this year, it will be disappointing not to have the 10K race as part of it but, we hope we will be allowed back for 2022’s festival weekend and put on a great 10K.

See also: Announcement on the Bradley Stoke 10k Facebook page

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BSYFC Schools Festival of Football

Photo of BSCS Primary Phase football team with town mayor Cllr Tom Aditya.
BSCS Primary Phase team at the 2019 Schools Festival of Football.

Statement from Bradley Stoke Youth FC (BSYFC), organisers of the annual Schools Festival of Football, normally held on the Saturday of the festival weekend:

If the Bradley Stoke Community Festival is deemed safe to go ahead, BSYFC would still plan to run a Schools (Year 1) Football Festival on the top field at the Jubilee Centre, assuming the uptake from the participating schools is sufficient to allow us to run the event.

The format may not quite be the same as previous years, but the intention would be to still provide a safe, friendly and fun festival for children to practise their football skills.

This is obviously subject to change as well as the successful deployment of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

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Final decision delayed

UPDATE added 15th April 2021.

The Journal has learned that the committee meeting at which a final ‘go / no go’ decision will be made on the 2021 festival has been postponed to Wednesday 28th April.

A source at the town council explained:

“In light of the current period of National Mourning [following the recent passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh], and the fact that meetings cannot be called during this time, our Finance Committee meeting is now taking place on Wednesday 28th April 2021, so the decision regarding the festival has been delayed until then.”


Festival cancelled

UPDATE added 28th April 2021.

Members of the town council’s Finance Committee voted this evening to CANCEL the 2021 Bradley Stoke Community Festival.

See: Council officer report [MS Word, on Dropbox]

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