Launched in 2011 with the fantastic Rich Hall as the headline opening act and followed in subsequent years with the likes of Sandi Toksvig, Alan Davies, Phill Jupitus and more, it’s incredibly sad to hear the Isle of Arts Festival will not be returning to Ventnor in 2016.
Not financially viable
A huge amount of energy (and money) was ploughed into the festival each year by the founders and volunteers. OnTheWight were proud to be involved as a sponsor for the event, helping promote the Festival across the Island and beyond.
The cost of having to host the event in a marquee for four years, as the nearby Ventnor Winter Gardens sat empty, has added to the financial impact say the organisers.
Philip Oxley told OnTheWight,
“We couldn’t get it to break even, even though people loved the events that we put on.”
The organisers are not hanging up their event hats completely though. As with the recent Arthur Smith event they hope to return with one-off events. Philip continued,
“We might occasionally put on one-off events, but not the full event every year.”
Message from the organisers
The following message was posted to the Festival’s Website this week.
It is with great regret that we have to inform you that there will be no future Isle of Arts Festivals. We have greatly enjoyed putting on the Festival these last five years, watching it grow and be enthusiastically received by our audiences. We would also like to acknowledge the invaluable support of our sponsors, advertisers, Festival Friends, local businesses and individuals and of course our wonderful volunteers.
Unfortunately the artistic success of the event was not matched by a financial one; four years of having to house our main events in a marquee (with all its associated costs) and the fact that we wanted to keep ticket prices as low as possible to make the Festival inclusive to all, meant that the organisers have had to make good a substantial shortfall each year.
Several requests for support from the Arts Council proved unsuccessful and in the current economic climate commercial sponsorship is ever harder to secure, which unfortunately leads us to conclude that it would not be prudent to start planning another Festival for 2016.
We would like to thank everyone for the support shown to Isle of Arts during the last five years.
The Isle of Arts team
Image: © With kind permission of Lucy Boynton