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'Amateur' Ilkley Summer Festival organisers told to sharpen up
The organisers of a popular summer festival have been warned their administration and management must improve after receiving a council grant.
The company behind the Ilkley Summer Festival, which is now in its 10th year, have been described as a “bunch of well-intentioned amateurs” who need to make improvements to continue to build on the success of the annual event which began in 2003.
However, Ilkley Parish Council backed a request for £7,000 from the directors of the festival, on the proviso the company organising the event changed its registered address, provided a full list of directors and provides a draft ‘out-turn’ for this year’s festival, all by October 31.
Ilkley Summer Festival Limited, the company behind the event, applied for the cash earlier this year.
After a meeting of the council’s awards and projects committee meeting, attended by members of the festival team, which includes ward councillor Anne Hawkesworth among its directors, the deal was struck.
However, Councillor Mike Ridgway said given the status and popularity of the event in Ilkley throughout August, the organisers need to make improvements in their accounting and administration.
He said there had been a “robust” discussion between members of the committee and the festival.
He told the committee: “It (the festival) is of great benefit to the town, but the administration and organisation needs to improve.
“A bunch of well-intentioned amateurs running a private company brings its own problems.
“Some old sacred cows had to be knocked on the head if the management and administration is to be improved.”
Coun Paul Kitching said he was taking over as secretary for the company to help iron out some of the concerns and meet conditions set by fellow councillors.
Coun Mike Gibbons said the need for improvements by festival organisers was no suggestion of anything improper and the council should continue to support the festival.
“Given the broad spectrum of events that have taken place and things people are already looking forward to, I think it’s very important we support the summer festival,” he said.
Details of this year’s festival, which begins on Yorkshire Day, Wednesday, August 1, can be found at ilkleysummerfestival.com.