Rain put dampener on Lowestoft airshow’s future
13:48 24 September 2012
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The Lowestoft airshow was cancelled because one day of bad weather cost up to £55,000 in entrance fees and donations, the chief organiser of the event has said.
On Friday, it was announced that the Lowestoft Seafront Festival would definitely not be taking place next year – ending 16 years of the annual aerial spectacles.
The show was grounded for 2013 as organisers could not fill a £60,000 financial black hole in its wet weather contingency fund.
But Paul Bayfield, the managing director of the airshow, has said that if the second day of this year’s flying festival had stayed dry and not put people off coming, then 2013’s event would have been bound to take off and thrill the crowds.
On the first day of this year’s weekend show, June 23, people entering the show handed over £70,000 by deciding to pay £3, which included a detailed programme, or put money in donation buckets to enter the show, which people could also attend for free.
However, due to the poor weather on the second day, only £15,000 was collected – leaving a £55,000 shortfall which drained the wet weather contingency fund.
Mr Bayfield said: “We had a really, really good day, but the killer for us was the second day. It absolutely threw it down.
“We raised £70,000 on the first day, which is more than we have ever had, but on the next day we only got £15,000.”
Today, the winding up process for the airshow begins, after the failed bid to try and find £60,000 in pledges to fill the wet weather contingency gap.
Mr Bayfield said it was far too soon to say if another airshow could be held in 2014.
Describing Friday’s decision to ground the 2013 event and its impact on the dedicated volunteers that run it, Mr Bayfield said: “I think the whole group involved feels it is like a bereavement.
“We all enjoy putting it on and it beings many benefits to the town.”
Mr Bayfield, who has been involved in 15 airshows, said that “ironically” the best display the airshow had seen, so far, was at the second rain-soaked day of this year’s seafront festival.
Bob Blizzard is the Labour parliamentary prospective candidate for Waveney and was leader of Waveney District Council when the airshow first took to the skies.
He said if more people handed over some money to enter the show instead of entering for free then next year’s event might have been saved.
Mr Blizzard said: “I am personally very sad as the airshow first started when I was council leader.
All those who have put it on down the years, and those who tried to save it, deserve our thanks.
“Huge numbers watch the airshow. If they had all put two or three quid in a bucket, it could have continued.
“It seems some people want something for nothing.”