Letter: Stamford Town Council’s statement on the Riverside Festival

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Stamford Town Council issued a press statement last week. Here is the statement in full.

Stamford Town Council has always unequivocally supported the Riverside Festival’s charitable objectives, to which purpose it has been pleased to make the Meadows available to the festival’s organisers, entirely free of charge, to mount this hugely popular annual event.

This year, 2011, the Riverside Festival organisers proposed to organise a cultural Olympiad to be held in tandem with the Riverside Festival.

Given the popularity of the Riverside Festival over previous years and the large numbers attending, it is entirely reasonable to predict that the proposed two successive events in 2011 would attract even greater numbers and that, consequently, existing public safety and crowd control measures would require re-evaluation.

Stamford Town Council determined that admission by ticket – whether charged for or offered free of charge by the Festival organisers at their discretion – would be an essential requirement for 2011.

The issue of tickets to control and audit numbers attending is one that Stamford Town Council has always considered highly desirable but in past years has not been considered necessary by the festival organisers.

It should also be noted that at the time of writing the Riverside Festival organisers have not submitted a formal application to Stamford Town Council to hold the Riverside Festival on the Meadows during 2011.

Therefore the claim that Stamford Town Council has rejected any such application is entirely spurious.

Stamford Town Council’s request for verified, audited accounts relates solely to a financial assistance application submitted by the festival organisers in respect of the proposed cultural Olympiad – emphatically not in respect of any 2011 Riverside Festival.

The Riverside Festival organisers have received a £10,000 Community Fund grant from Lincolnshire County Council in anticipation of their proposed Cultural Olympiad.

The Riverside Festival organisers have applied for a further £1,000 grant from Stamford Town Council towards this same event. Stamford Town Council’s requirement to submit verified, audited accounts in respect of applications for grants of public money is entirely normal, fiscally prudent and best commercial practice to ensure sound judgement and complete transparency.

This requirement is especially relevant where significant sums of money are involved such as the considerable revenues generated, not least from the volume sales of alcoholic and other beverages.

The Riverside Festival organisers’ seeming reluctance to provide verified, audited accounts in respect of their undertakings is regrettable, but entirely their own decision.

Stamford Town Council’s resolution to require sight of verified, audited accounts before considering the request for financial assistance in respect of the Cultural Olympiad is a unanimously held decision.

It goes without saying that Stamford Town Council continues to welcome dialogue with the Riverside Festival organisers.

Patricia Stuart-Mogg

Town clerk,

Stamford Town Council