Help is needed to save Bestival and Ryde Arena

Published on Friday, December 23, 2016 - 11:21

 

LETTERS

From Justin Attrill, Ryde:

So, we are nearing the end of the year and I feel the Island is becoming a nightmare for all the youngsters with the news Bestival is pulling out from the IW (CP, 16-12-16).

It is just more bad news for the youngsters, as is the recent loss of Ryde Arena, which had its doors closed by the bailiffs just over two months ago.

I write in the capacity as head coach for the IW Junior Ice Hockey Club, which has almost 60 members, our youngest being five years old.

My concern is, where is our MP Mr Andrew Turner ?

A number of ice rink supporters have written to Mr Turner, including one member who is 11 years old and who received the same reply as the others. I feel for his parents who had to try to explain why his personally written e-mail had the same lacklustre reply as the others.

The closure of the rink will, without doubt, have a long-term impact on not only the children from our club but the figure-skating children and the hundreds of children who used the venue for fun.

I have coached children for more than 15 years and I believe the discipline and respect we instil in the children has made, and will make them, respectable adults.

The talent and skill I have witnessed has been at times breathtaking, but we are at a crossroads.

We are all hoping the rink will open again but the one person who appears to be doing nothing is the one person who could help us.

Why is it places such as Guildford, Cardiff and Swindon have facilities? Why is it I pay my taxes and all I see is new supermarkets?

Mr Turner, you represent us but I can’t hear your voice. Please can you start shouting for the many bored children.

After the 2012 Olympics, your government said it wants to promote sport in Britain, well here is your chance. This Island needs funding now before the children clutter the streets causing mayhem, just like they did in the 70s.

Mr Turner, I give you a challenge: Tell our children how you will fight to regain the rink , because you have to remember the children will not be children for ever and once they are 18 their vote will decide whether you have a job or not.

From Thomas Munro, Cowes:

Not too late?: I, along with no doubt thousands of other festival goers, was devastated to hear the multi award-winning Bestival is moving off the Island; it was the highlight of my year.

Bestival brings so much prestige to the Island, as do the IW Festival and all the other festivals.

We on the Island, especially the tourist board, should be doing everything in our power to try to keep Bestival here; or am I wrong in thinking the Island can’t afford to forego millions of pounds being spent by the festival goers ?

The costs involved are no doubt huge for the organisers, especially because of the additional expense of transporting all the staff, vehicles and infrastructure etc over to the Island ; so it has a massive disadvantage compared to every other non-IW based festival. Bestival has been going for 13 years. It has grown over the years but let’s say 30,000 paying customers travelled on the ferries to get to Robin Hill.

If we say ferry companies received at least £10 per head (knowing people who travelled over by car would have paid considerably more).

On these estimations, the ferries received at least £3.6 million in revenue from Bestival-goers alone. This, of course, doesn’t even include the huge cost of moving over the equipment and staff.

Taking all this revenue into consideration, wouldn’t it be a good idea for the ferry companies to work together for the benefit of themselves and the Island by letting Bestival organisers bring all their equipment and staff over to the festival for free next year.

After all they would still be making all their revenue from the thousands of festival- goers.

A lot of people regard going on a ferry as a holiday experience, which was just one of the many unique things about this brilliant festival. Think of all the free publicity the ferry companies would get for saving this world-renowned festival.

So please, ferry companies, have a good hard think about this and see if you can help save the day.

Also, a massive thanks to Rob Da Bank for hosting this fantastic festival and the charity work he does too.

I hope, if it doesn’t return next year, then it does sometime in the future; maybe 2018 when Glastonbury isn’t happening?

Finally, before people say it’s too late; maybe it isn’t, as the licence as far as we know hasn’t even been issued for the new site yet. So, please, let’s all work together to keep Bestival where it belongs next year,or at least bring it back the year after.

Editor’s footnote: I believe the ferry firms have always had deals in place with the Island festival promoters for transporting acts, etc.

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