Coventry City Council will hold a public vote on whether the annual Godiva Festival should relocate from its traditional site to a city centre site. The free festival has taken place for the past 15 years but had to be cancelled in 2012 due to adverse weather conditions.
The event is the largest of its kind in the Midlands and has previously been held in the city’s War Memorial Park, but after the torrential rain last year councilors believe that moving the event may stop the wash out from happening again.
Godiva Festival Event Manager Lee House said: “The decision to go to public vote was prompted by discussions that have taken place within the council chamber. In view of the financial difficulties faced by retailers in town and city centre’s, it has been suggested that by holding the festival in the city we will generate much needed revenue for shops via secondary spend streams.”
The majority of the event’s funding comes from public monies with £300,000 allocated every year to stage the festival. Revenue is brought in through the food and beverage concession stalls but the move could reduce this revenue due to the permanent food outlets and licensed premises in the city centre. Hotels in Coventry however could benefit from guests staying in the city centre.
Lee continued: “We’re quite happy to go with the public opinion on this. Both sites offer strong cases and their own unique challenges, but we are in the fortunate position of having a secure budget that gives us huge scope to deliver a fantastic event regardless of the location.”
If the event moves to the city centre then it is likely to take place at several different locations. The council has not commented on whether the event will still be free if the relocation bid is successful.