Balloon showpiece scrapped in festivals shake-up

By Gary Smee Thursday 31 January 2013 Updated: 07/02 12:33

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Buy photos » The Night Glow event has been scrapped to save money. (s)

ONE OF Evesham's most popular events has been scrapped as part of a big shake-up of the town's festival programme.

The Night Glow, the showpiece of the Balloon Festival, will not take place this year as organisers say it is too expensive to run and too reliant on the weather.

A scaled-down festival will still take place on June 8 and 9 including morning balloon launches, but the money saved from not running the Night Glow will be spent on improving and expanding other festivals.

Last year the Balloon Festival cost £13,000 to stage and took up more than a third of the overall festival budget.

Shawn Riley, Evesham Market Town Partnership Manager, is one of the main organisers and said the changes would help to generate self-sustaining events and boost town centre businesses.

"The Balloon Festival is extremely weather sensitive, meaning that balloonists cannot guarantee to fly or perform the Night Glow until two days before the event," he said.

"Last year, all balloon launches were cancelled at short notice because of the weather.

"While this festival brings some income to hotels and food establishments, High Street businesses have indicated that Evesham’s other events generate a greater economic impact."

Possible changes to this year's programme include a new vintage festival and rock concert in Market Place that will form part of Evesham Festival of Music and a new folk music event during the Asparagus Festival called Evesham Asparafest. Evesham Market Town Partnership will look to develop these ideas in the coming weeks and months to see if they would work.

Mr Riley added: "We’ve tried to reach a compromise in providing good value for our communities and ensuring economic benefits for business.

"The new events we’re exploring are really exciting and could bring a lot of people to Evesham."

What do you think? Are you sad to see the Night Glow event cancelled or was it too unpredictable? E-mail the Observer at editor@eveshamobserver.co.uk.

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