What are they trying to hide? Part 2 Delapre Music Festival

Did Northampton taxpayer subsidise Delapre Concerts?
Did Northampton taxpayer subsidise Delapre Concerts?

What are they trying to hide? Part 2

With the proposals in the Northampton Conservatives budget to cut front line services and support for the poorest and most vulnerable I’ve been asked by a number of residents how can this be happening whilst at the same time they are going ahead with the Delapre Music Concert again this summer.

The issue of course is not whether it is good for the town or even if there should be a music concert but how much is it costing the taxpayer for what many regard as nothing more than a pet project of Cllrs David Mackintosh and Brandon Eldred.

It is a good question and is one that I asked before this years Concerts seeking assurances that it would be cost neutral as stated by Cllr Eldred when he told the Council that the business case was solid.

The response I received to my query was unambiguous being,

From: Name removed to protect identity of the officer.
Sent: 25 September 2012 15:05
To: David Palethorpe (Cllr)
Subject: Live music event

David
Please find answers to your questions below.

1.a. Yes. The projected ticket sales will cover the full cost of the artists.
1.b. Yes. The projected security, infrastructure and facility costs will be met from the income received from the event.
1.c. Yes. The projected car parking costs will be met from the income received.
1.d. Yes. The projected external policing costs will be met from the income received.
1.e. Yes. The projected advertising, insurance and other associated expenses will be met from the income received.
1.f. Yes. The full cost of clearing the site and restoring / repairing any damage to the site will be met from the income received.

2. The projected customer numbers for each day are expected to be 4,000 – 8,000 and will be finalised once the artists are agreed and signed and agreed through the Safety Advisory Group

3. The NCC & Police are aware of the event through the Northampton Safety Advisory Group and will be included in the new working party responsible for delivering the event.
Customer parking will be limited on site and will mainly be for event crew and artists only.

4. General car parking will be located off site with the final locations still to be agreed.

5. The event and communication plans will identify the actions to be undertaken to protect and communicate with local residents. These plans will be developed as the project progresses and will involve all key partners.

6. The event income is projected to cover all costs based on the information contained in the business case.

7. The event will be self-funded.

8. Please refer to question 7 above.

9. The Northamptonshire Fire Brigade are members on the Northampton Safety Advisory Group and will be in the working group responsible for delivering the event. The Northampton General Hospital will be communicated with shortly.

There is no doubt that for those who attended this years concerts enjoyed the experience as you would expect having paid not only for the tickets but also the added cost of travelling from we are told all parts of the UK.

Why have I had to use F.o.I to get information?
Why have I had to use F.o.I to get information?

The issue raised by residents with me however remains the same namely

“Did the Northampton Taxpayer subsidise the concert for those who could afford the tickets and travel”?

It is a question I can’t as yet answer and having failed to find the information in the Councils budget papers I submitted the following question in November which for some reason known only to them they have failed to provide a response.

Delapre Music Event 2013

From: – Councillor Palethorpe, Billing Ward
To: – Council Contact Centre

Would you be kind enough to provide the following information please,

1. The total number of tickets sold for each of the three nights of the concert.

2. The total cost of fees paid to artists on each of the three nights of the concert?

3. A detailed breakdown of the costs of,
i. Security
ii. Infrastructure and facility costs
iii. Costs of external/additional policing of the event
iv. Advertising
v. Insurance for the event
vi. Full cost of clearing the site and repairs to grounds.
vii. Other miscellaneous costs of staging the event.

4. A detailed breakdown of the Income and Expenditure on staging the event.

5. Details of all and any costs incurred by Northampton Borough Council in staging the event including staff costs.

The question now is what an earth are they trying to hide?

Given the past record of Cllr Eldred and Cllr Mackintosh if the event had been as great a success as they claim and if it had ‘broke even’ I have no doubt they would have been broadcasting it from the rooftop of the Guildhall.

If there is something to hide it will come out
If there is something to hide it will come out

I have now submitted the question to the Borough Council through the Freedom of Information system and will wait with interest just what the answer will be.