Exmouth concerts on the move after council fee hike

Exmouth Town Concert Band in the Manor Gardens as part of Exmouths FREE concerts series

Exmouth Town Concert Band in the Manor Gardens as part of Exmouths FREE concerts series - Credit: Archant

Exmouth musicians say they have been forced to leave the venue for their popular free concerts due to an increase in fees charged by the district council.

The Exmouth Town Concert Band has in previous years performed weekly summer concerts in the Manor Gardens.

Previously, the band was charged around £45 per season, but for this season it faced a charge from East Devon District Council (EDDC) of £189.60.

Band publicity officer Jackson Hammond said: “The band simply cannot justify paying in excess of £30 per performance when we rely on the generous donations of audience members to make these concerts financially viable.”

The band has found an alternative venue after Exmouth Pavilion offered the use of its gardens for free, for which Mr Hammond said the band ‘cannot thank the Pavilion enough’.

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In response, an EDDC spokesperson said the council reviewed its fees annually, adding: “Our pricing structure is designed to offer greater fairness and consistency to all users whilst still offering us the flexibility to work with event organisers to make every effort for their events to successfully take place. The public needs to be aware that the use of these facilities do incur costs and we need to be able to recover some of these costs when events are organised.”

The band also says a separate policy could cast doubt on the repetition of a charity concert.

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Last year the band’s inaugural Prom in the Park, hosted in association with Bumble & Bee, raised more than £500.

Now though, a new stipulation in EDDC’s terms of use states that 30 per cent of all admission revenues for events on council property must be surrendered to the council, and Mr Hammond said the band therefore fears it would be forced to hand over money intended for good causes.

However, the council’s spokesperson suggested it may be willing to negotiate these fees.

They said: “We review all event application forms individually and we would urge the event organiser to speak to us as although we would seek a share in admission revenues for large-scale events, we would consider waiving this where admission share is not applicable, for example for charity events.”

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