Canterbury city council awards firms three-year contracts to run the Whitstable Oyster and Herne Bay Festivals
Crowds waiting for the traditional 'Landing of the Oysters' during the Whitstable Oyster Festival
Groups bidding to run the Whitstable Oyster Festival and the Herne Bay Festival have been awarded three-year contracts to organise the events, it has been announced.
The council has handed contracts to the Event Umbrella and Continental Drifts to run the Whitstable and Herne Bay celebrations until 2016.
Both were selected after a council procurement process involving a number of high standard applicants.
Firms were invited to run the festivals after the council decided to hire external organisers in an effort save costs.
The Event Umbrella took charge of last year's Oyster Festival which saw tens of thousands of visitors come to Whitstable including Royal couple Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Meanwhile London-based Continental Drifts have experience in organising community festivals which include the Elephant and Nun fin Southwark.
The council’s Executive member for festivals, Cllr Georgina Glover, said the council was looking forward to working with both companies over the next three years.
She said: “Both demonstrated the most experience and innovative programming ideas that will see the festivals grow and attract new audiences, so we are very excited about what this could mean for the future.
"A three-year contract allows them to fully invest in these opportunities and become immersed in community life.
"Conversations about this year’s festivals will start very soon, so if anyone would like to be involved, they should get in touch with the organisers through the festival websites."
The audience for Herne Bay's Got Talent at the Central Bandstand
Gus Corcoran from The Event Umbrella said: "The Event Umbrella is delighted to have been awarded the three year contract to develop this incredible event.
"Over the coming three years we will ensure Whitstable Oyster Festival maintains its position as one of the leading gastronomic and cultural festivals, not only within the southeast but nationally.
"We are all very excited and look forward to working closely with the council, Whitstable Oyster Festival Association and the local community to deliver three fantastic festivals between now and 2016."
Mandy Janes from Continental Drifts added: "Continental Drifts are thrilled to be chosen as the organisers for Herne Bay Festival and are really looking forward to this exciting project.
"I know Herne Bay has a multitude of creative talent and we look forward to working with festival friends old and new to create amazing events over the next three summers."
The Whitstable Oyster Festival runs from Saturday 26 July to Friday 1 August, while the Herne Bay Festival is from Saturday 23 August to Sunday 31 August.
Visit www.whitstableoysterfestival.com and www.hernebayfestival.com for more details.
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