Berkofest hits buffers but will return in 2014

A town festival that last year raised thousands of pounds for community projects has fallen victim to the tough economic times.

The band of volunteers behind Berkofest have decided to put off the event – which costs in the region of £80,000 to stage – until next year.

Battle of the Bands 2013.'Parka Club.

Battle of the Bands 2013.'Parka Club.

They made the tough decision after discovering that, despite supporting the idea, potential funders were unable to get behind the project as the recession continues to take its toll.

The festival, which made its debut last year entertaining a crowd of 3,500 people, will now become a biennial event.

Organiser Charlie Hussey said: “What I want to make clear is that it is not lack of support or willingness.

“There is a recession out there and we all recognise that and it makes it very hard. I don’t doubt that people would like to help financially – they just can’t. We are not bleating, it is the reality.

“There is no denying there is support and amazing goodwill but to put on an event of this size, and not forgetting that we are all volunteers, we do need financial backing from some source and that is hard to do.”

Now the date of September 13, 2014 has been set for the musical extravaganza at Berkhamsted Cricket Club.

Meanwhile, the group will be seeking to establish charitable status and a series of events will be held to rake in cash. These include a comedy night hosted by television star Arthur Smith at Berkhamsted’s Centenary theatre on Saturday, June 8. Tickets start from £15 and are available from Home & Colonial and Scoops, High Street, Berkhamsted and www.berkofest.com

Charlie said: “There are a number of larger festivals not happening this year. You only have to walk down the High Street to see shops closing – it is the economic reality.”

Indie group Parka Club –the winners of last month’s Battle of the Bands (see video) – will still be given the chance to open the festival.