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Rochester Castle Concerts lost £300,000

ByIan Johns

A series of concerts held in the grounds of Rochester Castle made a loss of more than £300,000, it has been revealed.

Documents released today revealed the Castle Concerts lost the huge sum for the second year in a row.

Medway Council had already announced an urgent review into the future of the event, admitting the losses were 'unsustainable.'

Rochester Castle Concerts suffers major losses

July's event featured Craig David, Rudimental and George McCrae. Organisers had been dealt a serious blow when original headliner Jess Glynne pulled out on health grounds, with David stepping in as last minute replacement.

KentOnline revealed all nights with the exception of the ever-popular Proms had failed to sell out.

A total of 3,400 people paid to see the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra close the four-night festival on July 13.

Craig David, who had sold out two nights at the venue in 2017, proved less popular this time, shifting 2,606 tickets.

A DJ set from dance sensations Rudimental (£48.50) also failed to pull in the punters, with 1,816 tickets sold, while the Soul Party (£37.50) on the Friday featuring George McCrae and Heather Small was attended by 1,585.

Rochester Castle Concerts
Rochester Castle Concerts

It was the second year in a row that attendees had been banned from bringing their own alcohol to the shows - with the exception of the Proms, where it was still permitted.

A subsequent KentOnline poll of more than 2,000 readers saw 61% cite the booze ban as their reason for not attending.

Medway Council’s first revenue budget monitoring report for 2019/20 shows the authority’s event team is currently unlikely to stay within budget– "primarily" because of last month’s gigs at Rochester Castle, Local Democracy Reporter Dean Kilpatrick revealed.

The people of Medway speculate why Rochester Castle Concerts is underperforming

The report reads: "Festivals, arts, theatres and events are forecasting a pressure of £384,000 – primarily driven by the projected shortfall in income compared to budget in respect of the Castle Concerts."

Later on the document adds: "additional marketing to boost the sale of Castle Concerts tickets" is attributed to a further £40,000 overspend in the council’s communications budget.

Cabinet members did not pass comment on the findings at this afternoon’s cabinet meeting, having been subject to heavy criticism from opposition councillors at a meeting last month.

Cllr Alex Paterson (Lab) said at the time: "A review is something that should have taken place a year ago. It’s probably the longest delay between a death and a post-mortem ever recorded."

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