By Andy Hirst
Huddersfield Food & Drink Festival has had to be cancelled this summer due to the long-lasting impact of Covid and the growing economic crisis.
The ever-popular festival, which normally attracts around 150,000 visitors over four days, was due to be staged in St George’s Square in early August but organisers are struggling to get the major equipment needed such as marquees and the cost of everything is now rocketing.
It is hoped to stage the event next summer in Greenhead Park and turn it into more of a community event.
Organiser Sam Watt said: “We are facing huge logistical problems in terms of organising this year’s festival. We simply cannot pass all the spiralling costs onto traders as many have had a terrible time during the Covid lockdowns.
“Obtaining crucial equipment like marquees and generators is proving to be a nightmare as they are just not out there. We have all been trying for months but have ultimately been let down by events suppliers as they are re-assessing their own businesses following Covid.
“We have worked so hard to put things in place to deliver a much-awaited event, but unfortunately with the current unpredictable economic position combined with difficulty within the events industry to source various services and infrastructure the task has been immense.
“It would be unprofessional of us to deliver an event where traders, entertainers, volunteers, local businesses and visitors alike do not get the full benefit and professionalism we pride ourselves on.
“Combined all this with incredible increases in costs for everything right through to fuel and wages for security and we have had to come to the very sad and painful decision not to hold the festival this year.”
Sam said global uncertainty, difficulty getting products from China due to increasing problems with Covid there and the war in Ukraine are all contributing factors to the decision.
“It’s no secret that during the height of the pandemic the damage to traders, hospitality and the events industry was devastating,” she said.
“This is continuing to have after-effects which are having an impact on businesses everywhere. Combined with the long Covid tail, inflation and the effects of global problems ranging from Ukraine to lockdowns in China, at this moment things are not easy for anyone privately or in business and are set to possibly become more difficult in the coming months.
“The size and popularity of our festival brings with it many logistical and financial hurdles that smaller events do not have, including all the supply uncertainties and the gathering inflationary storm about to hit all trading businesses along with general household expenses and people’s disposable income. This will all adversely affect our traders and visitors alike.”
But Sam stressed she was determined to make the 2023 event really special.
“We want to organise a fabulous community event next year in Greenhead Park where we can really celebrate what Huddersfield is about and make sure everyone is involved,” she said.
* Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting. Copyright Andy Hirst.