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How to save Rochester Castle Concerts

By Ian Johns

The future of the Rochester Castle Concerts is in doubt after councillors said poor ticket sales had made the event 'unsustainable.'

But hundreds of readers have given their opinions on how the event could be brought back into profit.

Popular suggestions include reducing ticket prices, scrapping the controversial 'booze ban', providing cheaper parking and booking more modern acts.

Rochester Castle Gardens
Rochester Castle Gardens

It was revealed at a Medway Council meeting last night that the concerts were under 'urgent review' after another year of disappointing ticket sales.

The event lost more than £300,000 in 2018, and hopes of making a profit at this year's gigs were dealt a huge blow when star attraction Jess Glynne pulled out for health reasons. She was replaced by Craig David.

At last night's meeting, Labour leader Vince Maple said the ban on guests bringing their own alcohol had played a part in the slump in sales - a claim disputed by Tory Stuart Tranter.

Cllr Maple's view was backed by KentOnline readers on this site and our Facebook pages, with other reasons given as parking challenges, high ticket prices and the choice of headline acts.

Craig David (14007661)
Craig David (14007661)

Helen Appleton posted on our Facebook page: "The castle has been their cash cow for years with no real investment to protect/preserve it.

"Parking cost and availability to park is appalling despite the fancy pants multi-story that people would rather not use. Not allowing people to bring in their own provisions and increasing the cost of tickets really hasn't helped along with a lacklustre approach to booking acts that appeal to a wider audience rather than the same old every year. A fresher approach is needed if this is to be turned around."

Karen Williamson added:"I had a great time a couple of years ago seeing Peter Andre. Took a picnic and my own drink.

"Have not gone since not being able to do this again making it an expensive evening out!"

Chris Lorraine laid the blame at the door of the acts booked to appear, arguing: "They need to have performers that people want to see. In the past they had the likes of Van Morrison, The Pretenders and Blondie."

Rochester Castle Concerts under threat
Rochester Castle Concerts under threat

Debbie Rowley said it was unfair that people attending the Proms were allowed to take alcohol while people attending other nights were banned.

She added: I’ve stopped going since they don’t allow alcohol but do at the proms, it's very unfair . Also it’s bad enough having to queue for ages for the toilets let alone to buy drinks .

"Rochester Castle, listen to people who come every year and let them bring drinks in - not just for the Proms!"

Patricia Ann Robb backed this argument, saying: "It’s pretty obvious - the losses happened when the price of tickets went up at the same time as not allowing your own drinks or food into the grounds."

Joanne Johnson added: "Cheaper tickets, better acts, allow your own food/alcohol and don’t spend a fortune on fireworks at the end. Also, what happened to the kids concerts the following day?"

What do you think? Let us know by commenting below.

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