Torchlight festival cancellation will have a big impact on the region (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Torchlight festival cancellation will have a big impact on the region
3:37pm Thursday 12th July 2012 in Opinion
IT WON’T be just the people of Kendal who will be shocked and disappointed at the cancellation of this year’s Torchlight Carnival.
The annual procession in September attracts thousands of visitors to the town, many of whom time their Lake District holidays to coincide with the extravaganza, helping to boost the economy to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds.
It is impossible to say how many of these will now cancel their visits because of the Torchlight committee’s decision, but even if it’s just a few hundred there will inevitably be a significant financial loss to Kendal businesses such as B&Bs, pubs, shops and restaurants.
Given these economic benefits, it is perhaps surprising that Kendal businesses have not done more to support the carnival.
The Torchlight committee admits in a letter to sponsors that its inability to attract enough money is the reason behind the decision not to stage the event, although the lack of street marshalls appears to also be a material consideration.
Other than that – and a hope to resurrect the carnival in 2013 – the organisers are remaining tight-lipped about the whole affair.
Silence, however, is not the wisest reaction to all the questions now being asked by the people of Kendal.
Indeed, if the committee had spoken out openly, honestly and early enough about Torchlight’s problems, we may not have got into this situation.
Its members must now tell us why the carnival collapsed so close to the event time.
If it was known to be under threat sooner, why didn’t the committee ‘pass the torch’ to others to give them a chance to rescue the carnival?
And why won’t they talk to The Westmorland Gazette?
It is a public event: the public deserve an explanation - as well as being given a chance to mount a rescue, even at this late stage.
On the face of it – and in the absence of much information from the organisation – it looks like Torchlight has been abandoned.