Regatta could ruin folk festival claim organisers

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A BITTER row has broken out between the organisers of two of the biggest events in Whitby’s calendar.

The Folk Festival and the Regatta both get underway on 18 August next year, prompting the organisers of the Folk Festival to say that the clash could spell the end of their event which has been running in the town for over 45 years.

Barry Evans one of the four directors of the folk festival told the Gazette they are hoping the Regatta dates will be changed and warned if the two events did clash it would be “bad news for Whitby” which he claims would be at saturation point and losing money.

He told the Gazette: “Somebody told me when the two events clash Whitby loses £5 million of income. The accommodation is full, the town can’t hold any more people - the Regatta and the folk festival can both fill Whitby without any problem on their own.”

The last time the two events clashed Barry claims it cost the folk festival around £18,000 because people who buy tickets for gigs on the door couldn’t get into pubs and venues.

Season tickets and day passes are available but Barry says the majority of income for the festival is generated through punters paying on the door.

He said: “When they can’t get into the town because of the Regatta our door sales drop by 60 per cent.

“That is a massive amount of money, we are not talking peanuts, we are talking tens of thousands and it has a knock on effect through the rest of the week.

“We have had a good year thank goodness and made up for last year’s losses but if we clash with Regatta it is so serious the festival will be finished.”

The argument that Regatta dates are dependant on tide times also doesn’t add up according to Barry who recalled that last time they clashed rowing finished at 3.30pm - just an hour after low water - as high tide was at 8.15pm.

It is understood that the Regatta dates have been set for years in advance and the committee didn’t want to comment further.