Proms in Park may be shelved
One of Maidstone’s most popular music events is set to be axed after council officers concluded they could not justify a 185% hike in ticket prices.
Proms in the Park – which takes place in Whatman Park – was due to receive £5,000 from Maidstone Borough Council next year, before losing all public funding in 2020.
However in 2017 it secured £14,000 towards the running costs.
Ticket prices were introduced for the first time this year, but officials suggest the entrance fee would have to increase by 185% in 2019 (from £7 to £20) to make the event sustainable.
In a press release issued by the authority in April, Proms in the Park is described as “one of Maidstone’s most popular annual events” with “musical celebrations on a glorious spring day”.
A survey in 2016 suggested residents would be unhappy to pay more than £10 to attend.
Council papers, due to be debated on Tuesday read: “Events have a life cycle and it could be an appropriate time to discontinue Proms in the Park.
“Attendee numbers are falling, costs are rising, and Whatman Park is a challenging venue due to a lack of access for temporary toilets and lack of parking.”
It suggested the remaining £5,000 in 2019 could be used on new additions such as music on the bandstand in Brenchley Gardens, or events in Jubilee Square.”
Other ways of funding promos have been explored, but sponsors have not been interested partly due to the number of people attending. Less than 600 adult tickets were sold in 2018, while 300 children attended for free.
The report adds: “In previous years, the audience has been estimated between 1,200 and 2,000.
“The variation is a result of a variety of factors including weather and programme changes such as no longer having fireworks at the finale.”
Members of Maidstone Borough Council’s heritage, culture and leisure committee are recommended to support its cancellation. Parkwood Leisure, which provided the event management will have to support another function to meet its obligations.
John Georgiadis leads the orchestra in 2015 to a packed Whatman Park
The 2018 day out which had seen visitor numbers plummet