A series of summer events have had to be pushed back due to ‘insufficient’ ticket sales.

Event organisers of The Outdoor Picture Palace have had to postponefour upcoming outdoor cinema screenings at Leighton Hall, Carnforth, after low ticket sales made the screenings ‘financially unviable’.

Alex Chesters, who founded the North West outdoor cinema experience venture in 2021, spoke of his “great regret” at having to postpone the screenings to 2023.

“Quite simply, there have not been enough ticket sales for these events to go ahead,” he said.

“With increased costs across the events industry as a whole, events are becoming increasingly more expensive to operate and deliver.”

The Westmorland Gazette: FOUNDER: Alex Chesters of The Outdoor Picture PalaceFOUNDER: Alex Chesters of The Outdoor Picture Palace

Apologising to ticket purchasers, all of whom have been contacted and offered a full refund, he continued: “I delayed the decision as long as possible in the hope we could go ahead, however it would jeopardise the whole business to continue and deliver the event with the ticket sales we currently have.

“I would like to thank the team at Leighton Hall for their continued support since our launch. We will focus everything on bringing back screenings in 2023 and will announce this as soon as we can.”

The announcement reflects the current precarious state of the wider events industry, with a swathe of national festivals being forced to cancel due to low ticket sales, including This Is Tomorrow in Newcastle, Brainchild in East Sussex, and Summerfest in Ewood Park, Blackburn.

After initial predictions that summer 2022 would herald a much-needed resurgence for events and businesses battered by the pandemic, a “perfect storm” of higher supply and operating costs, combined with public anxiety in the face of spiralling fuel, food and heating costs, exacerbated by increasingly feverish media reporting, has led to similar cancellations throughout Europe.

The Westmorland Gazette: EVENTS: The outdoor cinema events have been pushed back to next next yearEVENTS: The outdoor cinema events have been pushed back to next next year

Lucy Arthurs, manager of Leighton Hall, said: “We are very sorry for ticketholders who were looking forward to The Outdoor Picture Palace’s excellent screenings, but I am sure they will understand that unpredictable circumstances made this sad decision an unavoidable one for Alex.

“While we have seen families enjoy returning to visiting Leighton Hall, many tell us they currently simply can’t afford babysitters and fuel for events that they would usually have booked for. This is one of the reasons we introduced our 50% off standard entry Local Residents’ Pass.

“These continue to be very testing times for venues as well as the public. We are committed to working with Alex to bring The Outdoor Picture Palace back to Leighton even bigger and better, in hopefully more secure and positive times in 2023.”

The Westmorland Gazette: VENUE: Leighton Hall near CarnforthVENUE: Leighton Hall near Carnforth

All ticket holders for the 2022 screenings have already been contacted via email, and can choose credit to attend a future event, or a full refund, including booking fees. Any queries should be directed to hello@theoutdoorpicturepalace.com for a rapid response.