Warwick Food and Film Festival cancelled

Jack Linstead before last year's festival
Jack Linstead before last year's festival

The Warwick Food and Film Festival scheduled for August Bank Holiday has been cancelled, it was announced today.

Local residents, members of the Chamber of Trade and other town supporters who banded together to form the Warwick Rocks town support group say they are “extremely disappointed.”

Hints of things starting to go round arose two months ago when Warwick District Council would not allow free open-air viewings of PG-rated films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Goonies because some of their content may be unsuitable for young children.

This was despite films like Top Gun being shown last year and the whole food and film weekend attracted some 30,000 people to the town.

One of the founder members of the Warwick Rocks group, Jack Linstead, said: “As a result of requests from the district council that are not possible to meet, the team has made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event.

“However, we will continue to support Warwick town centre businesses who have already pledged support through the festival fringe event.

“This includes carrying on with a showing of Dirty Dancing at the Warwick Arms Hotel on August 21 and Twilight being shown at the Thomas Lloyd pub on August 22.”

On August 24 there will also be a Cuban night and film at The Lazy Cow, an African themed event at the Rose and Crown and an ale tour of Warwick.

It was earlier this year the Warwick Rocks team were first informed by the district council there would be licensing issues with the proposed films announced.

Instead they proposed alternatives such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Toy Story and Hairspray.

The films were to be accompanied by the sale of a range of street food from scores of stalls.

Mr Linstead, who both lives and works in the town, said: “The team has put in many, many hours of work trying to make this year’s event happen - at times working through the night in their own time to put on this free festival for Warwick.

“We’re clearly disappointed to have to make this announcement and, despite having to submit event notices and submitting risk assessments and stewarding plans, the additional demands we have now been presented with - in the amount of time we now have ahead of the event - has left us with little option but to cancel the event.”

Warwick District Council had offered a one-off grant of £3,000 to support the event - but this was conditional upon the organisers being able to provide a specific set of documents by noon yesterday (August 4).

That deadline was extended but in the end the organisers felt they had no option except to abandon the event.

In a statement from Warwick District Council, Cllr Sue Gallagher, who is responsible for culture, said: “We are obviously disappointed that these events are not now taking place but the council has a duty to ensure that all events open to members of the public are managed in a safe way and in line with health and safety guidelines.”

She said it was brought to the council’s attention last week that the event could be in jeopardy due to sponsorship issues.

“Our events team work with a wide range of community groups throughout the year, supporting over 100 events ranging from small community ones to large national events.

“Therefore it is disappointing to hear that Warwick Rocks has taken this decision for a significant amount of support having been offered for this event.”