Regatta events at the Spa are sunk

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Whitby Regatta, the town’s oldest and most popular festival, says it has been forced out in favour of Folk Week

Some of the traditional events are being ousted from their usual venues at Whitby Pavilion after a deal was struck to give the space to the Folk Week instead.

The two events coincide this year and next and previous clashes have been worked out between the two groups and the borough council when it managed the Pavilion.

However, running of that has now passed to Sheffield International Venues who this week issued the Regatta committee with an ultimatum – take what they were offering or go elsewhere.

At an emergency meeting of the committee on Monday night, the committee said it would not be held to ransom and is now looking for alternative venues to stage several of the Regatta’s main events such as the selection of Miss Regatta, bonny baby and glamorous granny competitions, judging of the Monday parade and fancy dress and the rowing presentation night.

A spokesperson said: “The dates of Whitby Regatta are five years in advance.

“They are told when they are and to come to us now at this stage without talking it through and giving options is reprehensible. If people want to do business that way I don’t want to do business with them.”

It has been suggested by Sheffield International Venues that:

l The Revue Show be held the weekend before the Regatta instead of the Friday night

lBonny Baby and Glamorous Gran competitions moved from Northern Lights Suite to the Exhibition Hall downstairs

lThe Monday parade be put on a strict timescale

The Regatta committee has already offered to re-locate the awards night from the theatre to the Friendship Rowing Club if it could have the Northern Lights suite back for the bonny baby.

“It argued that space is more accessible for prams, pushchairs, watching family and friends and feeding babies and is next to the cafe.”

However, Sheffield International Venues, which won the contract to run Whitby, Scarborough and Filey centres on behalf of the borough council, said it was offering a “fair compromise” and it was this or nothing.

The spokesperson added: “Sheffield are running the

Regatta and they are badly out of tune.”

It has begrudgingly agreed that the Revue show will have to be moved as there is nowhere else it can be staged and the sets and changing rooms etc accommodated, and it is looking likely the rowing awards night will be at the Friendship Club.

But it is appealing for Gazette readers and local businesses to suggest any

alternative locations in town for the baby show and

fancy dress judging.

The Met and the Royal Hotel ballroom have already had to be ruled out as they too have been booked by the Folk Festival.

Regatta chairman Ivor Greer told the Gazette: “We are not happy and it seems that the Folk Week are not giving up anything but we have to accommodate them.

“What Sheffield International Venues have offered us is not satisfactory.

“We have clashed with folk week in years gone by and worked it out between us. I feel that the problem is not the clash with Folk Week, I think it is the management.

“Sheffield International Venues are unwilling to stick their neck out and accommodate both of us.”

HR Media, on behalf of Sheffield International Venues, said: “The Whitby Regatta and Whitby Folk Week are both extremely important events for the town,

which we have been proud to host at Whitby Pavilion

for many years.

“Both events attract visitors who stay overnight and spend money in the town, shops, pubs and restaurants.

“The annual Regatta is always confirmed based on the dates of the Whitby tide. Therefore, it occasionally clashes with the Folk Week.

“The venue has accommodated this in the past and, once again, we have put forward a proposal to ensure we can host both these important events.

“ We have had a number of discussions and correspondence with the organisers to find a workable solution that works for both events.

“The only change that

affects the Regatta is moving its baby show from the Northern Lights to the Exhibition Hall. The Exhibition Hall hosts many events with young children including a weekly Fit Tots for mothers and young children.

“We are sure that both events will be successful again this year.”