A STAND-OUT event in Brentford’s annual calendar will not take place this year following a row between organisers and the council.
Brentford Festival, held for seven years in Boston Manor Park, and due to take place on September 2, has been dramatically cancelled after organisers refused to pay a charge for using the venue.
John Laing Integrated Services, which Hounslow Council subcontract management of its parks to, charge £671 to cover the licensing fee and other costs of running any event.
However, event manager Linda Massey said the fee should be dropped because the festival is a community event.
She said: “It is a big disappointment and this decision will affect thousands and thousands of people who enjoy it. It will also be a loss to the people who have the stalls and all the charities the event normally helps.
“Ealing have offered us some land to hold it there, but it is too late to do anything now. We hope to put the fair on in 2013, but who knows?”
Hounslow Council are understood to have offered to foot the bill, as it did last year, but Mrs Massey said her team felt this was not right.
She said: “It is with great sadness that we have had to reach the decision to cancel Brentford Festival 2012. We felt strongly about the decision for JLIS to charge a fee.
“As unpaid volunteers there has never been an issue of my colleagues and I supporting the local community by providing a high quality event, but not when someone else is profiting from it.”
Last year thousands of people braved heavy rain to attend the popular event, raising about £4,000 towards the upkeep of the park and other events.
Hints that a problem was brewing were revealed by Mrs Massey in her monthly Chronicle diary, printed last May.
Residents will now miss out on much-loved attractions like the Red Barrows, a wheel barrow stunt troupe, the dog show and dance demonstrations.
A council spokesperson said: “The council is committed to supporting community events across the borough, and we will be developing an events strategy later this year, which will address how community-based festivals are incorporated into a larger strategy of outdoor celebration within Hounslow.
“The council has historically supported grassroots festivals in the borough and will continue to do so. In the meantime, we are currently in discussions with the Brentford Festival organisers to ensure that the event [in some capacity] can go ahead this year.”
The organisers are asking people to contact their local councillors or the department of leisure and cultural services at the council to give their views on the cancellation.