Thousands of people attending this year’s Lowestoft airshow will be urged to make a £3 minimum donation – amid warnings the event will cease to exist without more generous public support.

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Planning is now all but complete for the two-day spectacular on August 11 and 12, with up to 400,000 people expected to gather on the town’s seafront for one of East Anglia’s biggest events of the year.

But although the show remains essentially free, the organising committee warned this week that there was now a genuine risk it would not continue unless people put more money in collection buckets.

Last year, the festival made a loss of £40,000 after suffering bad weather on both days, and this year, for the first time in its history, the show has been unable to secure a major sponsor.

In an effort to cover the £300,000 cost of running the event, organisers are suggesting a minimum donation of £3 per person – up £1 on last year.

"It is essentially a free event but if our bucket collection is low it simply won’t continue."

Paul Bayfield, managing director of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival Ltd

Paul Bayfield, managing director of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival Ltd – the non-profit company organising the event – said: “It is essentially a free event but if our bucket collection is low it simply won’t continue.

“Increasing the minimum donation may be a contentious thing to do, but we’ve had a great deal of discussion about this. It hasn’t been easy and we think if everybody gives a little, a lot gets done.

“We are starting this year in a position of weakness. As a consequence of that wet weather last year, we’ve suffered financially and we’re now trying to get back to a position of strength. We need to hit the ground running if we want an event in 2012.”

The show organisers are also hoping that seafront businesses will contribute more to next year’s show, after many once again failed to offer any financial support – despite reaping the benefits of extra custom.

Mr Bayfield said the committee had considered cancelling next year’s airshow amid fears that many people might opt to attend the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. However, it was decided a “fallow year” could cause more harm than good and this would make it difficult to attract people and display teams, back for 2013, he added.

As if to illustrate the show’s difficult financial position, it was confirmed this week that the historic Avro Vulcan bomber – an established favourite with air festival visitors – would not be taking part this year.

In a message posted on the festival’s website, the organising committee explains: “As the most expensive display we had last year – at £9,000 plus VAT per show – we felt that it was such a financial risk to book it again this year.”

Despite the Vulcan’s absence, organisers have been able to secure a packed two-day line up and they are hoping the 2011 airshow will prove as successful as previous years when up to 450,000 people have attended.

For more information visit: www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk

14 comments

  • 3 quid is cheap compared to spending a day at pleasurewood hills at 15 quid a head and stand around in massive Q just to get on 1 ride. OK we pay our concil taxes but its our council who decided NOT to help fund the show anymore when the money they were getting from europe stoped.(oh what a surprise) However if i had a business on the seafront i would pay to support it as it would give me my money back in a day so i agree they should help towards the show but they dont. Guess its wait and see, its not everyones tastes but its good for the town in the way of daytripers and tourism i just hope we get another one next year as my son loves the planes.

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    vinny.p

    Friday, July 29, 2011

  • Ziggy and DPC. Dont go. Dont pay your super-expensive £3 "donation"... Just dont complain when one year it is cancelled. You say its the same every year. but surely you've noticed the displays are getting less and less every year? They have to cut costs some how and each year they end up cutting out a display just to keep it going because people like you don't support it. This year it's the vulcan. Eventually it'll end up being the red arrows and then the show will be as good as dead. Cant believe some people.

    Report this comment

    lpeek

    Friday, July 29, 2011

  • Ipeek - When did i say i did not support it? I allways put my lose change in at the end of the day and as a WDC Tax payer, then i support it in my council tax payment aswell. I am just saying that alot of businesses make alot of money out of the airshow from goods to parking and why dont these chip in more instead of each year pleading povety to lowestoft residents. You may forget the Beach area is a community area and is free for public use. And as i said if the Airshow moved to Gt Yarmouth do you think they would have any problems funding it - NO - because there council understand what tourism means to a seaside town. As it stands the Airshow, like the Town is good as dead, just some dont know it yet. I cant some people cant read!!!

    Report this comment

    dpc

    Friday, July 29, 2011

  • Every year its the same, "if we don't get enough donations we'll have to stop the event"....and guess what, despite falling short on occasions, the event continues......what are the odds of that eh ???

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    Ziggy

    Friday, July 29, 2011

  • Three quid a pop is an absolute bargain. You would pay that for a pint of ale or a tray of chips. Wish I could be there to enjoy it.

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    Mark Smith

    Friday, July 29, 2011

  • Typical, first year I get time off work and a chance to go and there will be no Vulcan.

    Report this comment

    adamb

    Friday, July 29, 2011

  • It may be free but the tax man has his share. VAT is a cancer on things.

    Report this comment

    bobby smith

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

  • I went last year and paid my fee for myself, son and grandson, and what did i get all day...a bucket stuck under my nose and sarcastic remarks from collectors saying things like " it maybe free but surely you can donate a entry fee & come on pay up" and loads of smug looks from officals.....why....simply because there was no sticky badge to say we paid...why no badge..... don,t ask me i was a fully paid up visitor trying to explain that i had paid. No more... as Erased Citizen say its the same old thing, we pay and loads don,t and most likely have no intentions of paying, sad but true.

    Report this comment

    The Watcher

    Saturday, July 30, 2011

  • The donation could be £1 and there would be no need for a major sponsor. All it would need for everyone to pay their quid. People go and spend a fortune on soft drinks, ice creams and toys. But refuse to put their hands in their pockets. Shame on them. And many of those refuseniks also park for free. They park in front of drop kerbs, which would have trapped one disabled man in his home for two days but the space in front of a garage around the corner was left clear. They park not just to the corners of the roads, but on the corners. It can only be a matter of time before there is an accident. And they drive round in circles looking in vain for the empty space. We are not fans of the show and go out, but are forced to stay out longer than we would choose to just so we can park outside our house.

    Report this comment

    blythburgh

    Friday, July 29, 2011

  • ipeak...I'm not going, but rest assured if I was, I would be donating way more than the recommended £3. Unfortunately I have to work, (someone has to support the dole-ites who attend these events for free afterall). My point was not about the level of the donation but that rather its the same old story year in year out...but somehow the airshow continues...and this just makes me challenge the veracity (google it...) of the comments from the organisers that if they don't get the money, the event will have to be cancelled.

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    Ziggy

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

  • Like you say every year just before the airshow we get the plea for more cash for a so called FREE event. Well it may be FREE if you dont live in lowestoft but the added costs to Waveney Council and Suffolk Police cost mean that the residents of lowestoft do pay for it. Also should it not be the Businesses that benifit from the airshow pay extra and not local residents. The Airshow is a great thing for Lowestoft and to be Honest the only thing since Lowestoft cant even hold a carnival anymore. If Lowestoft stop doing the Airshow it will be held at Gt Yarmouth and lets be honest they wont be moaning about it each year!!!

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    dpc

    Friday, July 29, 2011

  • I would like to try and make it clear once and for all that the Lowestoft Air Festival is run by a social enterprise company, entirely by volunteers for the benefit of the town, community, tourism and charities. It does not cost the local or regional council anything - we pay for everything. We also pay for the Police ourselves! In other words, the show doesn't cost the tax payers anything! However, it does benefit greatly local and regional business, charities and tourism related businesses. but more importantly,it also offers a fabulous day out for a paltry £3.00 (the price of a pint of beer) We work on the premise that if everyone gives a little, a lot gets done. If you cant find in your heart of hearts to donate £3.00 for a brilliant day out, please don't moan about it - just don't come. Really sorry about the Vulcan, but we couldn't take the financial risk of booking it the year. Believe it or not, we would like an opportunity to put on another show next year (despite all the whingers)

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    Paul@Airshow

    Monday, August 1, 2011

  • £3 is a bargain but unfortunatly the town is full of people who just don't want to pay but get everything free. Or just spend that money on booze or fags. In saying that I won't be attending the airshow anymore, as it's the same boring, unimaginative displays every year. No jets or anything different, just a whole day of wing walkers and flimmsy propeller planes. If it's going to survive then it needs to change and give more variety in the display, to draw a bigger auidence and continued following.

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    Erased Citizen

    Friday, July 29, 2011

  • dpc. I dont mean to offend. Just my observation. But this from your original post sounds like you're against putting any money in: "so called FREE event. Well it may be FREE if you dont live in lowestoft but the added costs to Waveney Council and Suffolk Police cost mean that the residents of lowestoft do pay for it."

    Report this comment

    lpeek

    Friday, July 29, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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