Sunderland festival cancellation costs council up to £142,000


The cost of cancelling a high-profile music festival in Sunderland could reach up to £142,000, the council said.

Lamplight Festival was due to take place over three days in August, with headline acts expected to include Kaiser Chiefs and Deacon Blue.

However, the council announced at the beginning of June it would be pulled.

The cancellation costs were revealed following a question by a member of the Labour-controlled council’s Liberal Democrat opposition.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said Andrew Wood, who represents the Millfield Ward, went on to ask if there were any plans to review the way events were promoted.

Councillor Linda Williams, cabinet member for Vibrant City, said the decision to cancel the festival was “done in the context of a number of other music and cultural events that have been cancelled locally and nationally over the last year”.

She said: “As well as a number of deferred events from the past couple of years, which are now competing for calendar space this summer, we’re seeing a change in patterns from customers impacted by a variety of factors, including the pandemic and the current cost of living position.

“The timing of the decision was also important, if we had waited any longer the cost of the retention payments for the artists and the running costs would have increased.

“We’re still negotiating the final position but the cost of the cancellation will be between £132,000 and £142,000.”

She added a council restructure had placed events in the regeneration portfolio and senior leaders would be meeting this week to discuss “the future of events”.

Councillor Andrew Wood described the Lamplight Festival cancellation as part of a “worrying trend” of events in Sunderland being “cancelled, postponed or underperforming”.

“The council’s leadership urgently needs to review their events strategy.

“Sunderland Council can’t be allowed to develop a bad reputation for not being able to put on events that residents and businesses alike want to see be successful”.


Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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