SO Fest doubts at ELDC meeting

DOUBTS about the commercial value of the SO Festival to Skegness were sounded at a meeting of East Lindsey District Council’s overview committee.

According to a consultants’ report commissioned by the event’s organisers, ELDC, SO attracted 17,000 visitors and generated more than £1-million in expenditure within the district-wide economy.

But Coun Mark Anderson said the festival had “a captive market” because it was staged at a time when there were already “hordes” of holidaymakers in the resort.

He continued: “A better reflection of its pulling power would be if it was held in the shoulder months of the season - spring or autumn.”

Coun Anderson, who is deputy mayor of Skegness, also queried the way SO had been marketed as an arts and cultural festival.

“That’s a turn-off for people who come to the resort in search of candy floss and traditional seaside fun,” he warned.

However, Coun Dick Edginton said ELDC should be commended for staging “something different” and for seeking to widen the type of visitor who comes to the Lincolnshire Coast.

He warned that staging SO out of season would be risky because the outdoor activities would be vulnerable to inclement weather.

It was agreed that a further “task-and-finish meeting” should be held to weigh up the pros and cons of the event, though these discussions will be behind closed doors.

In the meantime, the corresponding festival next year will be held in June to avoid clashing with the London Olympics.