Isle Of Wight Festival promoter Solo has withdrawn its request for the local council to waive its hire fee for Seaclose Park.
The authority currently receives £55,000 a year from Solo for use of the site and holds a bond of £26,000 for the replacement or repair of any damage to the park during the event.
“While at this stage it cannot be confirmed that the varying or waiving of the council’s land hire fee would ensure the staging of the festival in 2017, there is a real risk that unless Solo can reduce its costs and or increase ticket sales that the event may be cancelled,” said a report due to be discussed by the council’s executive on Thursday (October 13).
However, as a result of “incorrect media inferences” about the event, Solo has now withdrawn its request to the council and will work with it to look at other alternatives to help reducing the costs of staging the event.
An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson, said: “The Isle of Wight Council has worked closely with Solo Promoters Ltd over the past 15 years to facilitate the Isle of Wight Festival, which generates around £10 million per year to the Island’s economy.
“The council was approached by Solo with a request to vary the terms to its current agreement to use Seaclose Park - and has a responsibility to its residents to consider the request openly and transparently. As a result a report was due to be considered by the council’s executive on Thursday, October 13 containing a wide range of background information to help inform councillors in their decision-making.
“The council would like to make it clear that it has not, as reported, said that ticket sales have decreased. In fact ticket sales have seen a significant increase in recent years. However, the report does make it clear that the costs of staging the festival are increasing and as such Solo incur many additional running costs each year beyond simply booking the acts.
“The report sought to make it clear that Solo has two choices regarding the increasing costs – to reduce its running costs or to raise ticket prices. Solo has always been committed to offering their festival goers the best value for money and do not believe it’s fair that the fans are the ones left to contribute to rising costs, hence its approach to the council to vary the terms of the current agreement.”
Solo MD John Giddings resurrected the festival with the council in 2002. The event has gone on to host the likes of David Bowie, Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones. This year’s event was headlined by The Who, Queen + Adam Lambert, Stereophonics and Faithless.