It's going ahead this year - but the future of Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival is looking shaky.
So a team of Huddersfield businesses have come together in a bid to keep the festival going - along with Huddersfield Carnival, the Festival of Light and the Big Screen Weekends.
Award-winning recruitment firm Stafflex Ltd, based at Chapel Hill, has linked up with other like-minded businesses to set up Huddersfield Live! with the aim of generate exciting events aimed at the general public of Huddersfield and surrounding villages.
Organisers revealed it has already attracted a five-figure sum of investment from member partners and benefactors.
The new organisation is led by project director Chris Alexander, a former head of culture and tourism at Sunderland Council, whose responsibilities there included organising a £1m-plus events programme and whose son is a student at Huddersfield University.
TAKE a look at our video from last year's Food and Drink Festival below
Nadio Granata, founding member and marketing expert, said: “We recognise and understand the pressures on local authorities as the austerity cuts continue to bite hard.
“But we feel strongly that events such as the Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival, Huddersfield Carnival, the Festival of Light and the Big Screen Weekends provide fantastic fun to the people of Huddersfield and beyond.
“Nobody wants these to disappear – in fact, we want more of them – but it is increasingly unlikely that the council will be able to contribute financially to these events in the foreseeable future. So, if we want great things for the town then we need to find new ways of providing them.”
The launch of Huddersfield Live! comes in the wake of an announcement that the Huddersfield Partnership – which has organised events such as the Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival – is to fold following loss of Kirklees Council funding.
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Mr Granata said Huddersfield Live! would use private donations, sponsorships and advertising fees to cover its costs and wherever possible will offer a profit share with partnering charities.
He said: “If successful, we intend to convert the company to a Community Benefit Society and issue ‘community shares’ further down the line. These are options for people or organisations to buy into the company with the chance of making a return on their investment over a few years.
“It’s not likely to generate a massive financial return, but it will be a community-friendly way of providing the capital required to bring great events to the town or indeed complement existing events over a number of years.
“We will be the first town in the country to achieve this, so I am told, and are working hard to provide a blueprint for others to follow”.
Mr Alexander said: “Stafflex have pulled together a number of people to form an advisory board who, over a period of several months, have been canvassing opinions and researching into the opportunities.
“I was delighted when they invited me to be the project director and to oversee the setting up of the company and the development of the launch programme of events starting this summer with a 5km Family Fun Run.
“We will be announcing the details shortly, followed by more details of another family activity in the autumn and a really innovative and exciting event in the run-up to Christmas.
“More events are in the planning stages for next year but it’s too soon to reveal the details just yet. This will not be an easy task by any means, but it will be extremely worthwhile and I am convinced it will pave the way for other towns and cities to follow”.