The founder of Whitby Gothic Weekend has warned April’s event could face the axe if people don’t support it.
Jo Hampshire who first started the bi-annual event in 1994, which brings thousands of visitors to the town and generates hundreds of thousands in revenue for local businesses, has warned that Whitby is going to “kill the golden goose.”
This October’s event was the biggest ever with both nights at Whitby Pavilion featuring live bands selling out and the town packed with visitors.
But she said last April’s event saw a decline in numbers and she lost money.
“April was the quietest event in 18 years,” she said. “However, it was packed in the town and to anyone else, it looked packed.
“I don’t think the Spa can support two events in a year. The main people that suffer will be the businesses in Whitby.
“We looked at different ways to bring in revenue by giving a free guide out funded with paid for advertising.
“Not one person got back to me and I sent out 420 packs to local businesses. In the end we funded the 8,000 copies of the guide from ads from goth traders.
“That says to me that Whitby is very complacent. I feel disappointed that local shops and businesses didn’t support the event.
“We would like local business to look at reinivesting back into the event by way of sponsorship of the event and advertising in the guide. We want to work together. We want to promote them and for them to promote us.”
Miss Hampshire said although October’s event was also packed, it is being marred by visitors who enjoy dressing up for the occasion and parading around the town but do not buy tickets for the official event.
“It stops Goths coming to Whitby because they can’t find anywhere to stay, eat or park and there is also the issue of not being able to get accommodation for one night if they just want to come to see the bands on one night,” she said.
“Whitby is going to kill the golden goose.
“People want to come to Whitby Gothic Weekend for all the reasons that I started running it. People who are isolated and want to get together with like minded people. My intention is for these people to feel like big fish in a little pond.”
Miss Hampshire said October’s event had been a huge success.